Discerning the Rights of Man | Plainfield Christian Science Church, Independent

Discerning the Rights of Man

by Richard Oakes

Table of Contents


“Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?”
“I’ve been to London to see the queen.”
“Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?”
“I frightened a little mouse under her chair.”

“Student, O student, why look you so ready?”
“I’ve been to Concord to see Mrs. Eddy.”
“Student, O student, what came of your search?”
“I learned what is wrong with your local church.”

Attempts to describe, explain, justify, or excuse Mrs. Eddy tell us something of the describer — whether they tell us anything about Mrs. Eddy is another matter. Either we use “Mrs. Eddy” to signify the scribe of Truth in this age, or we have doubts about this and confine the words to a personality. If we have doubts, the use will be inconsistent and questionable, in terms of personal anecdotes and in terms of local church problems; if we do not, it will fit God’s one consistent whole and embrace all the written truth of Christian Science. Referring again to the opening verse, to a pussy cat, a queen will be assessed by her relationship to the everyday excitements of mice and chairs. We learn little from a cat of the nature of queenly office.

The Author of Science and Health

If we regard Science and Health as of human origin, (1) we learn little of its divine authorship and betray the scribe. Mrs. Eddy recorded Science and Health faithfully and obediently in 1875, and then revised it to adapt it “to the present demand” (see “Take Notice,” written in 1908, and quoted in Miscellany, 237:4-11). This demand she found to be different at that date from “some twenty-five years” earlier. It will be different in 1972 from 1908; yet Mrs. Eddy never said that earlier editions were incorrect, nor that the 1908 version would need correction twenty-five or more years later: they merely needed adapting to confront what she referred to in another place as the “materialism and sensualism of the age, struggling against the advancing spiritual era.” (2) It is noteworthy that she left as part of her latest writings the statement that the first edition of Science and Health contains “the complete statement of Christian Science” (see Retrospection and Introspection, 37:1, 1910 edition and thereafter). A metaphysician finds nothing in any edition of Science and Health which belies the claim that no human pen or tongue taught the Science contained therein (3) — a claim made in early editions as well as the one left in 1910.

In addition to Mrs. Eddy’s writings published in Boston since 1910, there is an infinity of writings and quotations which do not deviate from the Principle and rule stated in Science and Health, and as such can be considered to be both “by Mrs. Eddy” and not “of human origin.” Scientists can verify their origin through their textbook, and can detect the pen of the “scribe of Truth.”

The Author of the Manual

Mrs. Eddy told students that she wrote the Church Manual as she wrote Science and Health — under divine dictation. She unfolded the Church Universal and Triumphant, and faithfully and obediently recorded in the Manual many specific examples of how each individual must build his own church in absolute obedience to the Principle associated with this name Mary Baker Eddy or Pastor Emeritus. She also recorded the downfall of attempts to identify Church with personal control, and exposed the fallacy of believing that another can undertake to carry a student’s burden or do his work. (4) Let it not be said that Scientists are bound by human councils as to “what should and should not be considered Holy Writ.” (5) A man will hesitate to believe he can authorize God’s word.

On the contrary, the Christian Scientist is a member of the Church whose only priest is God’s spiritualized man. (6) The pride of priesthood, attempting to play God, or to be God’s sole and necessary intermediary between Him and His own, is the prince of this world, and has nothing in Christ. (7)

It can help us to look beyond personality for the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and the author of Science and Health and the Manual, when we understand Mrs. Eddy’s own example along this line. Hugh A. Studdert Kennedy, a careful observer of Mrs. Eddy’s sojourn with us, points out that she herself was dealing with thoughts and thinking rather than persons expressing such thoughts. He wrote: “The proud person; the deceitful; the madly ambitious person; the hypocritical — she never regarded otherwise save as varying manifestations of the one human mind” (see “Christian Science and Organized Religion,” 210:9-24).

In positive terms, we may regard the revelator, the author, the Pastor Emeritus, the friend and Leader, as always expressing varying manifestations of the one divine Mind.

(1) My. 115:4
(2) S&H 65:14
(3) S&H 110:17
(4) Ret. 86:19
(5) S&H 139:15
(6) S&H 141:19
(7) S&H 270:22

A Search Buoyant with Hope

It is well that God winks at the times of our ignorance. (1) In the years after Mrs. Eddy left us, I joined many in believing that divine progress coincided with the increase in the numbers of registered Christian Scientists. Vaguely I reckoned that when the numbers accepted as members of The Mother Church outnumbered the members of another church, Armageddon would follow: the anti-Christ would be overthrown, and the Church of Christ, Scientist, acknowledged as the only church. The resulting general renunciation of drugs, stimulants, pleasure and pain in matter, would usher in immortality and the millenium.

When it became evident that this blueprint was not only unscientific, but also not to be followed, I became more scientifically aware that Mrs. Eddy’s complete and final revelation must encompass even the apparent reversals. For not only was the rate of my hoped-for divine progress slowing down, but it was being reversed. Rather than a continual rush from other churches into the final haven of Christian Science church membership, wellreared grandchildren of Christian Scientists, even children of Christian Scientists and the parents themselves, were turning to other churches or to no church. Hard-pressed Scientists were turning to materia medica for relief, quite beyond Mrs. Eddy’s clearly defined concessions. The numbers of Journal-listed practitioners and teachers were diminishing.

Yet human numbers are of no consequence, for one, on God’s side, is a majority. (2) Moreover, the “voice of Truth to this age” is not a group of people or a building, but Science and Health, (3) and in Science and Health institutional church is mentioned only once in any positive sense, and negatively at all other times. I also noted that the prophecy was that other churches would adopt Christian Science, rather than that institutional Christian Science would adopt other churches. There are dozens of phrases in Mrs. Eddy’s writings which measure the progress of Science in terms quite different from those of institutional growth.

What Had Mrs. Eddy to Say About It?

Why did the voice of Truth seem to have said one thing and permitted or encouraged a different and faltering pathway to be followed in practice? There must be some proof extant that Christian Science and its practice is one consistent whole. If there was nothing in Mrs. Eddy’s life which could injure her, “if correctly narrated and understood,” (4) why could not the whole be unearthed and told, rather than being buried away in locked archives?

I searched and read all I could about Mary Baker Eddy, even if some of it were on a par with what a cat might say about a queen. I noted that many Scientists rated their loyalty in terms of refusals to read what others were recording of Mary Baker Eddy, whether it be vibrant with lessons or not. Remarks like, “The opening sentence was enough for me” or “I got as far as where the author said Mrs. Eddy showed ill-temper!” reminded one of the good St. Peter: “Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.” (5) Yet what God hath cleansed — what God hath given us in Science and Health to embrace — “that call not thou unclean.” True loyalty is the ability to “love more for every hate, and fear no ill” (6) — to love Mrs. Eddy all the more for reinforcing one’s understanding of what that name means.

It soon became immensely significant that Georgine Milmine* had discovered that Mary Baker would have been 17 years old when she joined the Tilton Congregational Church “at the age of twelve” (see both Retrospection and Introspection, 13:1 and Miscellany, 311:12). The meaning of twelve, the counting of natural years, and the measurement of age, took on a new light.

Mrs. Eddy’s declared date for the chartering of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (see Church Manual, 18:3), coming two months before the charter was granted, also carried deep significance as to the non-material nature of what she actually founded (“found” thus meaning “point to the existence of”).

Universal Relationship

It gives an unmaterialistic significance to any relationship to the enduring, the good, and the true, (7) when Edwin Dakin** can assert that Mary Baker Eddy could not possibly have had Sir John Macneill in the line of her Grandmother Baker’s family, without her being the daughter of a Mrs. Florence Macalister of Aberdeen — which she hardly claimed to be (see Retrospection and Introspection, 2:30). God relates us to the whole of His world. When Jesus said to John: “Behold thy mother,” he had already taken relationship away from human seed. If we can accept the probable translation, the Fragment of a Lost Gospel says: “Strive therefore to know yourselves, and ye shall be aware that ye are the sons of the Father; ye shall know that ye are in the city of God, and ye are the city.”

8Author of “The Life of Mary Baker Eddy and History of Christian Science” and of the McClure articles (see My. 308-16).

**Author of “Mary Baker Eddy, The Biography of a Virginal Mind.”

Those whose concept of Mrs. Eddy is a mere stereotype of a perfect mortal, able to dethrone error in herself and others with a few divine words, find Mrs. Eddy to be just that until their concept improves — or, perhaps, until it is rudely shattered. Those who find Mrs. Eddy sound when “on the ball,” and not able to make the best decisions for Christian Science and the Christian Science Church when irritated or senile, will always tie themselves in knots while trying to reconcile this duality.

Those who look for Mrs. Eddy in person “or elsewhere than in her writings” lose her. (8) We are grateful that there is a thought pure enough to transmit God’s message to paper, and if we recognize it as God’s message, we are in direct and unreversed communication with God, and not merely with an intermediary. In this day and age, we are being asked to receive Science and Health from God, just as Mrs. Eddy was, only she had also to record it. The sacrifice, trust, sincerity, which enabled her to receive and write its message is of great importance to us in our receipt of the message; and the way we overcome the appearance of losing the message is lovingly revealed through our clarifying the blurred concepts we may entertain of the author.

Dark Sayings That Are “Authorized”

In Science and Health, 464:13, we read: “If from an injury or from any cause, a Christian Scientist were seized with pain so violent that he could not treat himself mentally, — and the Scientists had failed to relieve him, — the sufferer could call a surgeon, who would give him a hypodermic injection, then, when the belief of pain was lulled, he could handle his own case mentally. Thus it is that we ‘prove all things; [and] hold fast that which is good.’”

Is this a dark statement — a “relative” statement as compared with the “absolute” statement a few pages earlier: “The Scientist’s demonstration rests on one Principle, and there must and can be no opposite rule”? (9) Did God dictate the latter statement to Mrs. Eddy and not the former? or did your Mrs. Eddy mishear some of the divine message? Is the quieting of a “belief of pain” (to enable one to handle one’s own case) more of a concession to matter than dying bravely or even seeing someone die (including Mrs. Eddy)? She tells us that Jesus’ final “concession to matter” was no more than attending a supper. (10)

Perhaps looking for Mrs. Eddy in person could be just a temporary concession to matter by which we hold fast that which is good. In that case God will not deprive us of the means to hold good. If Mrs. Eddy told Adam Dickey to write a book to say she was mentally murdered (11) — and what kind of death is there besides the kind we mentally are aware of and accept as fact? — should we be afraid of his account? Should we pretend it is for a posterity who will be better qualified to discern where Mr. Dickey was lying about the Mrs. Eddy he saw daily? Or shall we use his account to find even more of her in her writings? It should not alarm us that even posterity is close in this case, since the copyright on Mr. Dickey’s book expires in twelve years’ time, unless Congress further extends renewal periods.

Would any Christian Scientist want to discount a statement on Christian Science by its Discover and Founder, on the basis that she was at the time contending with an acute physical claim? (See “Mary Baker Eddy, The Truth and the Tradition,” page 453, by Ernest Bates and John Dittemore, referring to a letter recalling copies of the Dickey book.) As early as 1904, Mrs. Eddy made public in the July Journal (page 248) a statement that the public boast of the mental murderers that she “would never again meet with her church is not fulfilled.” What came safely from Mrs. Eddy’s pen 67 years ago does not have to be hidden even until 1983.

Her further comments are likewise independent of time and place:

“The mental assassins are in God’s hands, and He will uncover their crimes, and punish them in His own good time and way. Let us obey Jesus’ command, to bless our enemies, and do good to them that despitefully use us. “Mary B. G. Eddy “Pleasant View, Concord, N.H., June 7, 1904.”

The “Negative of Metaphysical Science”

If the Dittemore and Dakin disclosures about Mrs. Eddy could cause an apologetic little notice to be put in the Christian Science Sentinel of January 26, 1929, telling the world that Mrs. Eddy had to employ “in a few instances, an anaesthetic for the purpose of temporary relief from extreme pain,” we do not have to pretend there is something in Mrs. Eddy’s life which detracts from Christian Science. Indeed, the thought that struggles with a personal sense may well be comforted by knowing that a struggle can lead out of personal sense; but let those who neither look for nor find Mrs. Eddy in person speak up, and let their love be full vindication of the Revelator and the Revelation. Let us not hesitate to “declare the positive and the negative of metaphysical Science; what it is, and what it is not.” (12)

This does not suggest a vague process of deifying Mrs. Eddy. But if we cannot “find the divine Mind to be the only Mind” of Mary Baker Eddy, we shall find it even harder to commune with the only Mind in the other Mind-appearances as persons and events, negative or positive. (13)

If Christian Science is not the truth, it is wicked to pretend that it is. If it is the truth, it is wicked to believe that, in some areas, it and its Discoverer are frauds. Mrs. Eddy put the whole thing in a nutshell when she told friends (as related to me by a teacher who went through the 1902 Board of Education class) that, as person, she is the weakest of mortals; but as the impersonal Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, she is the bone and sinew of the world.

It is no surprise to the metaphysician that a concession to matter (the student’s belief that Mrs. Eddy existed apart from her writings) should result in further concessions to matter (an anaesthetic to quiet the pain and pleasure of that material sense). It is no surprise that the Pharisees’ determination to believe that Jesus’ temple was a material body should result in the death of that body (to them), and the resurrection, to the steadfast disciple, of the spiritual fact.

Nevertheless,those who“slew”(mentally assassinated) Jesus perpetuated and extended his spiritual influence. (14) Similarly, those who mentally murder Mrs. Eddy (including those believing that Life for her had a beginning, as much as an ending) can serve only at length to perpetuate and extend the influence of her Science and Health.

Concessions to Matter

Convinced that all we associate with the name Mary Baker Eddy and her Church would include specific signposts relative to any concessions to matter (care of the body and its pains, ritual worship, a last supper, etc.) I continued several years of research for these signposts.

The questions were many: Had God dictated something extra and different from His “complete statement of Christian Science” in 1875? Why were the Journals, etc., of Mrs. Eddy’s time — “designed to put on record the divine Science of Truth” (15) — so difficult to come by and copy? Why was her 1898 deed of trust (16) establishing the Publishing Society made subservient, after her departure, to an 1892 deed of trust, when the later deed should normally take precedence? Why had Mrs. Eddy resisted changes regarding the need for her signature in the Manual that would have simplified church government after she “should relinquish her place as the head or Leader”? (17) Why should God dictate as an irremovable and perpetual Section of the Manual a prohibition against haunting Mrs. Eddy’s drive, when such drive should cease in 1910? (18) Why were the numbers of C. S. B.’s and of Journal practitioners diminishing, let alone just preserving their rate of increase? Why was Miscellany withheld until 1913, and why were items added that Mrs. Eddy had not chosen (see official report of the “Committee on General Welfare,” 1917)? And why was this official report not obtainable? Why was Sibyl Wilbur’s book enlarged and different from the one Mrs. Eddy approved in 1907? Why were there changes in the Manual from the last that appeared in Mrs. Eddy’s time (the 88th edition)? Why was a section of pages 698-9 in Science and Health omitted after 1910, etc., etc.?

There was, no doubt, a sound answer to all these questions, and they are advanced neither in a spirit of accusation, nor of complaint. To find the answers, I sought early students, early writings, letters — even studied the buildings Mrs. Eddy had supervised — to try to find her signposts to progress beyond concessions made to matter. Her writings spoke of these concessions: “Let men think they had killed the body” (19) ; “Let marriage continue” (later changed to the non-concessive “marriage will continue” (20) ; “Let (churches be materially organized) in concession to the period.” (21) An interesting set of circumstances led me to become close friends with a similar researcher, Gilbert C. Carpenter Jr.

Gilbert had long been familiar with the Mrs. Eddy his father had observed daily at Pleasant View, Concord, during a year’s period of service under the Manual as her assistant secretary. He had listened while his father sought to reconcile such observations with preconceived ideas about the person who could discover Christian Science. When some of the incidents which had at first puzzled the father began to find their way into print, both Carpenters wanted to prepare answers to the ill-informed attacks on Mrs. Eddy they foresaw.

The current Board of Directors in Boston saw it otherwise. They preferred the method of suppression — a task they set about with commendable devotion to purpose (see “The Christian Science Censor,” published by The Nation, February-March, 1930). They forced the Dakin book to wither on the vine; they bought up the Dittemore and Dickey books, suppressing them entirely, as with previous works by early Christian Scientists, like Samuel Bancroft; they pursued the Carpenters for preparing books to answer, rather than ignore or evade, the false interpretation of the facts the books brought out. At least when Georgine Milmine thought she had found Mrs. Eddy elsewhere than in her writings, and wrote her history in McClure’s Magazine, we had the benefit of Mrs. Eddy’s rebuttal in her own words, (22) giving some remarkable replacements of a material sense with a spiritual; similarly with Mark Twain. (23)

(1) Acts 17:30
(2) Wendell Phillips, Speeches, 1859
(3) S&H 456:27
(4) My. 298:3
(5) Acts 11:8
(6) Poems 4:15
(7) S&H 261:4
(8) My. 120:2
(9) S&H 457:28
(10) S&H 33:1
(11) “Memoirs of Mary Baker Eddy,” Pref. xv, by Adam Dickey
(12) Mis. 172:4
(13) S&H 251:23
(14) S&H 43:19
(15) My. 353:11
(16) “Christian Science & Organized Religion,” Appendix 1, p. 243, by Hugh A. Studdert Kennedy, also p. 209
(17) Man. 72:20
(18) Man. 48:12
(19) S&H 42:24
(20) S&H 1st edn. 322:12, 50th edn. 274:24, and 64:27 in recent editions beginning 1907
(21) Mis. 91:6
(22) My. 308-316
(23) My. 302-303

The Dittemore Collection

The material in the Dakin and Dittemore books (as opposed to the interpretations therein) was authentic in the sense that it had been gathered by Dittemore during the ten years he served as Clerk of The Mother Church. In line with the practice followed in Mrs. Eddy’s time, he was also a Director. The collection consisted of his own copies of what became the Archives of The Mother Church, which he started.

Gilbert Carpenter Jr.’s access to the Dittemore collection, and the circumstances surrounding my long association with Mr. Carpenter bring out several points of interest for the genuine student of Mary Baker Eddy’s life and work. Although I first met him in 1937, it was not until February, 1951, that I learned the full story of his own collecting and preserving activities; the caution with which he had had to parry legal threats from Boston; the basis on which he claimed rights in Mrs. Eddy’s unpublished letters; the continuing attempts from outside at suppression; and his disappointments and successes. The two of us pieced the story together. I wrote it and he reviewed it, making a few clarifications in his own handwriting. I also made my own notes on some relationships he had described with a Foundation similar to the one he established; and on his last official meeting with the Christian Science Board of Directors late in 1950. Full accounts of these will be given after a little more background.

During my first meeting with Gilbert Jr., I noted with gratitude that he was making sure he preserved at least the official records: the early Manuals, Quarterlies, Journals, editions showing major and minor revisions of Science and Health, etc. Without mentioning Dittemore, he showed me the collections he and his father were working on and had worked on, including their book, “Visions of Mary Baker Eddy as Recorded by Calvin A. Frye.” This had been written to offset the mistaken comments made about them in the Bates and Dittemore book, pages 231-2.

The Board in Boston had refused permission to the Carpenters to circulate their book, and consequently I was asked not to broadcast the fact that I was being given a set of the book’s galley proofs. I decided to take only those sheets bearing the text of the visions, and months later, after I had examined these myself, I acquired the other sheets with further text of Gilbert Carpenter Sr.’s comments.

The Carpenter Compilations

Altogether in 1937 Gilbert Jr. had eight compilations of his own which he had gathered together and registered in the Congressional Library “upon publication.”* There were ten, if one includes two others he distributed surreptitiously: “Divinity Course,” recorded by Lida Fitzpatrick and others — registered in the name of Frederick Harold Remington; and “Notes on Metaphysical Obstetrics,” registered in the name of J. Raymond Cornell.* The original two “Divinity Course” copies, securing the copyright, were turned over to “The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston” by Mr. Remington on 8-27-34. But when Mrs. Fitzpatrick first heard that copies of what were said to be her Notes had been printed and placed in the Congressional Library, she felt it right to present an authentic version. This remained in the Library unknown to the removers, who thought they had secured all copies. I found a corroborative account of Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s action in a collection of her papers left to me by a friend in 1970. The collection includes a copy of her Notes, almost identical with the second version Gilbert Jr. had printed in 1933, and later circulated extensively.

*Information obtained from the Reference Division of the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20025.

The original copyright by Remington was not renewed in 1961, as required by law for its continuation, and the work is therefore in the public domain. Photocopies can be obtained from the Congressional Library for a few dollars. Late in 1961 the Carpenter Foundation claimed a copyright on the Carpenter introduction to the “Divinity Course,” but after 18 years of wide circulation by Gilbert Jr., without seeking copyright protection, this could hardly be upheld in a Federal Court, and is of no consequence since it does not affect the Notes themselves.

The rights claimed by Cornell in the Obstetrics Notes were transferred to the Cornell Book Company 2-12-36, and later were purchased by the Rare Book Company, of Nassau Street, New York 10038, after the copyright had expired unrenewed. The present state of the eight Carpenter works, and of later volumes prepared by Gilbert Jr., for students throughout the world,* will be examined later in this dissertation.

*As outlined later, Gilbert Jr. established a foundation in 1945, to make items by and about Mary Baker Eddy “ever accessible to qualified students throughout the world.” In a “Preamble” he laid down “requirements” that the Foundation’s material “should not be kept away from students who from a right motive desire to see and study” it. (See Exhibits K and I, Civil Action No. 85042, Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Joaquin.)

The nearest he came to defining to me his “thought” about these students was a letter (Exhibit 13-7) expressing his only hope that Scientists “will have the chance to study these things about our Leader freely — I mean, of course, those who are ready. And if the question comes up, who are the ready ones, my answer is that they show themselves in a human way — when they are hungry, they appear at some place that serves food — and if they do not care for that food they go elsewhere.”

The Game of the Babes and the Men

Let it be said that in 1937 Gilbert Jr. was very much aware of the threat these works posed to him and to their own survival. He had survived the earlier hassle with the Board of Directors by acceding to their demands to hide the work he felt he had faithfully performed under God’s direction. He had been accepted as an official teacher of Christian Science, and fondly hoped the Directors would one day see things as he did. He wanted neither a rift with them, nor the stigma of suspension as a teacher, nor anything that looked like an activity outside the official Church of Christ, Scientist. These sentiments remained his guiding principles to the end. He was prepared to agree that the official church had exclusive charge of the neophyte, that it should preserve the “milk of the Word” by rules, discipline, priesthood; but he wanted it understood there was “meat” beyond all this which “men in Christ” must be allowed. (1)

This pretext — that he was dealing with only a few silent pioneers who were committed to church rules, but were exploring beyond them — was God’s means for letting his activities continue unmolested, until his works were circulating in such quantities, without copyright protection, as to have reached the public domain. I did not realize this at the time. Seeing the invaluable task which God was equipping him to perform without looking for the smiles of men, I had told him I felt in 1937 a little “impatient at his patience.” (2) I also took issue with his convenient division of the world into millions upon millions of babes — and a few men.

In January, 1938, he wrote an interesting letter saying he had had a clear picture of Mrs. Eddy telling him the leadership of the movement was on his shoulders, meaning the spiritual leadership. (3) I realized there was no personal sense attached to his remark, and replied as follows: “I think she will say that to all of us sooner or later. It is our own concept of the movement that we have to lead out of itself and no one else can do it for us. We shall gain spiritual leadership as we lose domination (so rife in the world at the moment, as priesthood struggles for life). Since salvation is individual, the prophecy of Jeremiah is fast approaching fulfillment: ‘And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD.’ The ‘least of them’ appeals to me as being those whom at present we condemn to drink the milk of the Word” (emphasis added). (4)

Farther down I wrote: “I believe we are meant to accept as true or not whatever is written or said, according to our own inspiration. If something is helpful to our progress we shall have it from one source whatever other channels appear to be willfully blocked . . . Inspiration is a better judge than arbitrary decisions on what is authorized or unauthorized.”

I have added the above paragraph because, next time he wrote, Gilbert enthusiastically requoted the middle sentence back to me, as coinciding with his own feelings. (5) As a metaphysician he knew that God alone could decide “what best promotes your growth,” (6) and that no human assessments or yardsticks were applicable. The seeker brings his own qualification.

When Mrs. Eddy proclaimed in No and Yes 45:24: “Let the Word have free course,” she reminded readers that “Jesus said: ‘I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and has revealed them unto babes.’” Also in No and Yes (3:8) she says: “When I revised ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,’ in 1878, some irresponsible people insisted that my manual of the practice of Christian Science Mind-healing should not be made public; but I obeyed a diviner rule.”

The Carpenter Foundation

Had the more precipitous course I advocated been followed, however, the law might have been prevailed upon to suppress for a while all those wonderful items which Gilbert Jr. managed to channel into thought unarrested. Although he held no copyrights on items by and about Mary Baker Eddy, he was able, in his own way, quietly to get enough books of Eddy apocrypha into the world, (7) for them all, in a year or two, to reach the public domain. They belong to you and me — to make our own scientifically, as well as legally.

The gain to the world is appreciable: not only do we have accounts of the individual work which Christian Science calls us to, as it called those in the daily church of Mrs. Eddy’s home, away from organized church as the world knows it, but also it released the proof that Mrs. Eddy was not saying one thing in her home, and planning another thing in her church organizations. Neither revelation was satisfactory to the ecclesiastical mind.

By 1945, Gilbert Jr. felt impelled to try to safeguard the items he held. He formed himself into a foundation under the laws of Rhode Island, and items given to the Carpenter Foundation became legally protected by State law. I was overjoyed to find that he had had the courage to do this, even though it did cost him his Christian Science teacher’s job, and his practitioner’s card in the Christian Science Journal, and that of his father. (8)

The Foundation and the Manual

It concerned me, however, that Gilbert’s items included many for which there was no context or indicated source. Those which merely illustrated some principle in Science and Health were grand, but I asked Mr. Carpenter how he reconciled his loyalty to the Manual with Art. XXII, Sect. 8: “A strictly private communication from the Pastor Emeritus to a member of her Church shall not be made public without her written consent” (emphasis added). I had no wholly satisfactory reply. The assurance that they were not being “made public” required examination so long as that phrase means “shared with somebody else.”

Gilbert Jr.’s attitude was that when God bade him follow a particular course, he did so regardless of what human wisdom might say — and preferred to brave the wrath of man than that of God. (9) I felt that the God who dictated Sect. 8 was the same as He who pointed out a particular path, and there could be no duality. Later Gilbert did write to say he believed that Mrs. Eddy’s written consent or approval, as demanded for all important acts and appointments in the Manual, just had the significance now of requiring members and officials to make sure they acted in a way which would have brought her signature and approval. (10) To this I could not agree, feeling that a concession to matter in the form of a materially organized church (see Miscellaneous Writings, 91:9) requires a faithful concession in the form of correct material procedure. Correct reasoning about a wholly spiritual Pastor Emeritus was excellent; but then we must go the whole route, for it presupposed a wholly spiritual “structure of Truth and Love” (11) (not bricks and mortar and human officials), operating universally from moment to moment, without limitation to a specified building, dignitary, or time.

I also felt there was something to be pondered under Art. VIII, Sect. 15: “Church Organizations Ample.” The official Christian Science organizations were surely more than enough for the development of Christian Science, so long as one was thinking of group activities that require “general official control.” (12)

It, therefore, seemed to me that the Foundation was fine so long as it did not seek to define Christian Science or Christian Science behavior to anyone in any way, and provided it saw the connection between Science and Health and whatever it ascribed to Mary Baker Eddy. Then it was not an organization, nor a peddler of private communications, for once the universal import of a message from Mrs. Eddy is understood — once the Principle is known — the student is the member of her Church to whom it is addressed.

The First Five Years

For five years after launching his Foundation, Gilbert Jr. steered straight along the course he was led to follow, with no signs that the Directors were beginning to appreciate his position, or that those around him had much conception of his great purpose. (13) However, the legal skirmishes, suppressions, even deprivations, seem to have subsided.

Then, in 1950, he had a visitation from Boston in which it was alleged that he was breaking the law of the land by showing Mrs. Eddy’s letters. (13)

The particular issue was undoubtedly Mrs. Eddy’s letters to the Board of Directors, now owned by the incumbents as their own heirs, and as legal heirs to the author’s rights by having become trustees under her will. Gilbert’s lawyer had warned him they had a point there. In relating these developments, he now told me that, if challenged in law, he would use the fact that he had been granted permission by Dittemore to use the copied Dittemore material in any way he wanted; and Henry Mark Baker, Mrs. Eddy’s cousin and original executor, had granted Dittemore the right to “publish the letters written by Mrs. Eddy to her relatives and to others in past years.” Dittemore’s request to Henry Baker for literary rights had been meant to cover a very few pre-1870 letters he wanted for an article in the Ladies’ Home Journal, but the permission was worded in totally general terms. Whether it would stand up in a court of law was quite another matter, but at least it could serve to give pause to Gilbert’s challengers.

Gilbert did not tell me what his lawyer had said in the reply he sent to Boston, but he did say that after several months he had heard nothing further from the Legal Department. (In 1961, I asked the assistant head of the department to turn up the letter and let me know whether they considered the points Gilbert’s lawyer raised in it to be valid or invalid. I was assured verbally that this would be done; but subsequent correspondence continued to ignore that issue.)

Offer of Reinstatement

Towards the end of 1950, he was summoned to Boston in person. (14) I was in California at the time, but was given a full account when I returned east in February, 1951. I quote from my notes made at the time:

Only three of the Directors were present at the meeting: Ivimy Gwalter, Clayton Bion Craig, Alfred Pittman. Mr. Pittman told Gilbert he had “lain awake nights” praying and wondering how the Carpenter Foundation business could be solved. Gilbert put his case plainly and was listened to in a friendly atmosphere. Since this was the first time he had been really permitted to have his say, he was encouraged.

The Directors then put their proposition to him: If he would surrender all of his material to the Archives, he would be permitted access at any time he wished. Gilbert found the offer tempting — there was much in the Archives he wanted to examine, and much in his own collection he wanted to check.

“You mean I’ll have access to the Archives?”

“Just your own collection.”

“What’s the advantage? I have access to it now.”

“Ah, but you will be fully reinstated.”

Reinstated — this meant that Gilbert would have the right to teach again. It also meant that no fault had been found with his teaching: his suspension as a teacher had not been on that score! But he saw no way to accede to their request. In fact, for the first time he felt it was hopeless to expect them to see things his way.

He had the impression they had gotten wind of the fact that he was reprinting (by offset process) the book “Mary Baker Eddy: Her Spiritual Footsteps” by himself and his father. The first printing of 100 copies was exhausted. He believed that the interview was really leading up to the question of the suppression of this book, much as two years before they had prevailed on Bliss Knapp to destroy the plates and all copies of his “The Destiny of the Mother Church.”

Gilbert said he came away from the meeting convinced that nothing was to be gained by playing games any more. He decided that actually the time had come for wider distribution of his and his father’s book. The following day he put it on sale, in the sense that copies would be sent to anyone sending $15.00* whereas previously the books and compilations were sent out privately on a very restricted basis and payment was in the form of (fairly sizable) contributions.

(Since Gilbert’s passing, the book has been put on the Foundation’s Restricted, but Not “Highly Restricted” List, but does have a fixed price: $20.00.) (15)

*Confirmed in minutes of meeting of Board of Trustees of the Carpenter Foundation, 1-12-52 (Exhibit G, Civil Action 85042).

The Future of His Foundation

The next item of our discussion concerned his Foundation. He began to tell me how he had modeled it on another existing foundation, and how, in about fifteen years’ time, the expansive policies of this model had been reversed. He explained that the one who had set up the other foundation had left a clause in the articles of incorporation to the effect that the implementation of its policies should not tend to divide the movement in any way, and on this basis it had come under the control of the Directors. Nevertheless, he had had a student friend who had been a receptionist there, and thus he had been able to exchange valuable items and get into areas now closed off. Then suddenly this friend had been told her services were no longer required, and she was being let go at once. After she had recovered from her surprise, she apparently said she would go and get her things, but was ushered right out, with the statement that her belongings would be sent after her.

I asked what was to prevent his Foundation “going the way” of this other foundation, and he replied: “Nothing, except demonstration.” He next quoted a remark attributed to Mary Baker Eddy by Dr. Alfred Baker: “All the trouble I have is with my students,” and seemed to be prophesying that his Foundation would likewise be locked in by ecclesiasticism fifteen years from his relinquishing control. There is a huge difference between restriction for the sake of prudence and restriction for the sake of priestcraft, whatever explanations are advanced at a particular moment. Gilbert did his best to see that the latter kind of restriction should not replace the former. The Preamble, mentioned in the footnote on p. 16, stipulated that “if during the life of Gilbert C. Carpenter, Jr., he should be dismissed by the other Trustees, all the property constituting the Foundation shall revert back to him as sole owner.” This property, described as “books, pamphlets, letters, photographs, etc., in fact, everything that includes the life and history of our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, as well as the history of our Cause, and whatever else may be useful for the growth of Christian Science students” was, moreover, required to be held “in trust for the free use of all Christian Scientists.”

To forestall an indiscriminate take-over by Boston, the Preamble required the following: “If at any time the Board of Directors in Boston should desire to take over the Foundation, and the Foundation should feel its value might be broadened by such a transfer, the Board must accept the requirements that the treasures should not be kept away from students who from a right motive desire to see and study its material. This agreement must be made in writing, and failure to live up to this signed agreement will require them to return all that has been turned over to them, intact, to the Providence (Carpenter) Foundation.” (16)

The Carpenter Story

On that cold day in February (Saturday, 10th), Gilbert’s attitude seemed to be one of urgency. I do not recollect ever seeing him so earnest. I told him that the story of his Foundation must be recorded, and spent the evening writing an account of what I had learned and re-learned. The following morning I presented it to him for his comments. It is given below, exactly as drafted, without polishing or embellishment, except that Gilbert’s occasional emendations, made in his own handwriting, are included as indicated:

In 1909, after the resignation of William B. Johnson from the C. S. Board of Directors at Mrs. Eddy’s request and consequently from the position of Clerk of The Mother Church, John V. Dittemore, already a Director, took over the position of Clerk. After the decease of Mary Baker Eddy, John Dittemore began collecting letters and items of interest by and about Mrs. Eddy. In the June, 1912, issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal he published with comments some early letters and poems by Mrs. Eddy written between 1844 and 1870. The following is a copy of a letter he received from Henry Mark Baker, executor of the will of Mrs. Eddy:

“Concord, New Hampshire

“March 8, 1912

“Mr. John V. Dittemore

“135 St. Paul Street “Brookline, Massachusetts

“Dear Sir: —

“I hereby give you permission, in my capacity as executor of the estate of Mary Baker Eddy, to publish the letters written by Mrs. Eddy to her relatives and others in past years, and also the original girlhood poems purchased by you through George W. Baker of Tilton, which are now owned by you.

“Yours very truly,

“(signed) HENRY M. BAKER,


Shortly after Mrs. Eddy’s decease, Messrs. C. F. Libbie & Co., Auctioneers of 597 Washington St., Boston, produced a catalogue offering a number of Mrs. Eddy’s autograph letters at an auction sale to be held on February 23rd and 24th, 1911. Quotations from these letters were included in the catalogue and the Board of Directors in Boston obtained an injunction for the withdrawal of the catalogue and later won their suit against Messrs. Libbie & Co. in which they claimed sole right as Mrs. Eddy’s heirs to the publications for sale of any of Mrs. Eddy’s writings, letters, etc.

In 1919 differences between Dittemore and other members of the Board came to a head, and the latter voted to replace the former by Mrs. Annie Knott. Dittemore contested their action before the Courts and lost. Since he had been collecting the material about Mrs. Eddy as an individual member of the Board, and not on behalf of the whole Board, it remained in his possession; and even though the Court ordered him to turn over everything relating to the Board of Directors, he retained in large measure his own copies of the material. A list of what was turned over appeared in the C. S. Watchman (organ of Annie Bill’s “organization”). When Dittemore and Bill went sour and decided to discredit Mrs. Eddy as a means of discrediting the then C. S. organizational set-up, Dittemore turned to his copies and with the assistance of Sutherland* Bates prepared his biography of Mary Baker Eddy hard on the heels of Dakin’s uncomplimentary biography. These books appeared in 1929 and 1930 respectively.

Meanwhile Gilbert Carpenter Jr. had become aware of the many important statements Mrs. Eddy had reserved for a few of her students and which were apparently getting more and more lost to view rather than becoming more and more universally understood. Among the material drifting around among Scientists were copies purporting to be of the “Divinity Course” as given in her home. Consequently he took the most authentic of these copies he could find and presented it to the Congressional Library in Washington as a touchstone against which future generations could gauge the many more or less spurious copies of the Divinity Course extant.

*Ernest Sutherland Bates

About this time Clifford Smith in Boston was considering the time had come for an authentic biography of Mary Baker Eddy which would give the facts and deal with the attacks as squarely as it was deemed safe for the peace of mind of the Scientists in the world. Accordingly he approached several of the surviving Scientists who had been in Mrs. Eddy’s home and asked Gilbert Carpenter Jr. to gather some details of his father’s experiences at Pleasant View.

Gilbert Carpenter Sr. spent one year in Mrs. Eddy’s home during 1906-07 in accordance with the then provision in the Manual. When he left, Calvin Frye made this note in his diary: “Gilbert C. Carpenter completed his one year’s service at P. V. today and returned to Providence.

“Mrs. Eddy said to him this morning in presence of the other students at P. V. ‘Gilbert, it is like taking my heart out to let you go. During the year that you have been here you have not committed a single moral offence!’”

He was also given his C. S. B. certificate signed by Mary Baker G. Eddy for having been taught the Primary Course in the Board of Education by Mrs. Eddy and having practiced acceptably for three years. This certificate did not at the time carry the right to teach, the present Art. XXVI, Sect. 9, not being in the Manual in 1906.

For 25 years after his year at Pleasant View the elder Carpenter kept quiet about many of his experiences there because he felt he did not understand the full implication, but by the time the request came to him from Clifford Smith he had convinced himself of the basis on which all Mrs. Eddy’s acts and remarks could become clear. Briefly it was that the human mind, whether calling itself good or evil, could not fathom the operation of the divine Mind, and Mrs. Eddy’s whole effort with her students was to get them to abandon the human mind with its logic, however feasible and beautiful, and live in and work with the only Mind. She was so spiritually sensitive that she could detect whether a student was allowing the human mind to have the control, and was prepared to use all sorts of methods to arouse such a student, whereas nothing that was done from the basis of the divine Mind ever merited or received a rebuke from Mrs. Eddy.

Consequently Gilbert Carpenter Sr. was glad of the opportunity to recall events during his stay at P. V. and add explanations on the above-mentioned basis. He did this by taking an hour and a half each morning to chat about anything he could remember and enlarging upon it while members of his household recorded it, and later correlated and edited it, omitting repetitions and so on.

At last the book was ready and Gilbert Carpenter Jr. took two copies to the Congressional Library in Washington for the purpose of getting a copyright, and then took a further copy to Boston for Clifford Smith who did not thank the Carpenters for their efforts. He pointed out that he did not want a book written: he wanted material so that he could write the book. Gilbert Carpenter felt* that he (Smith) was not qualified to write about things he had not witnessed: he had never been in Mrs. Eddy’s home nor was he one of Mrs. Eddy’s confidants. (Judge Smith was First Reader in The Mother Church at the time of Mrs. Eddy’s decease and as such was approved by her. To him fell the task of reading her burial service.)

*Changed by Gilbert Jr. from “replied” as I had it.

About this time a man named Remington, who married Spofford’s daughter,* was hawking around tidbits from the Spofford collection and gaining financially by allowing Scientists and others to read some of Mrs. Eddy’s more startling statements and other documents. Gilbert Carpenter Jr., who had read the Dittemore book, and was particularly anxious to see a copy of James Gilman’s diary quoted therein, heard of Remington just about the time the latter gained the confidence of Dittemore.**

This was when Dittemore was asking $10,000 for the trunkful of material still in his possession. An R. C. priest had offered $5,000 for it. Gilbert Carpenter Sr. informed the Directors and begged them to buy Dittemore out, but they would not hear of it. It is unlikely that they knew just what the trunkful consisted of, because the originals of everything were in their possession, having been turned over to them by Dittemore as a result of the Court decision in 1924 or so.

Thereupon the Carpenters tried unsuccessfully to raise the $5,000 themselves. (These were the so-called depression years.) But in anticipation of the attack upon Mrs. Eddy which they expected would materialize if the material fell into hostile hands, they bargained with Remington for the loan of the material for two weeks for $400.*** Thereupon the Carpenter household set to work copying and photostating in order to be able to start on equal terms with any misuser of the material. The New York public library, backed by the Vanderbilt grants, made part of**** this work financially possible by undertaking as much photostating as they could accomplish in two weeks on the condition that the negatives remained their property, although a positive copy of everything would be issued free to the Carpenters. Accordingly, at the end of the two weeks, a copy of nearly everything was in the hands of the Carpenters.

*Four words of (I believe, inaccurate) identification added by Gilbert Jr.

**Slight rearrangement of wording, by Gilbert Jr.

***Changed by Gilbert Jr. from “$500” (but see p. 31, first para. of Remington deposition).

****The words “part of” added by Gilbert Jr.

In view of the fearlessness and openness with which Gilbert Carpenter Sr. had dealt with episodes in Mrs. Eddy’s life, which the Directors considered would be better suppressed, they were concerned when they learned that the Carpenters had had temporary possession of the Dittemore collection, and immediately sprang into action. They agreed to pay Remington his price, and the agreement included the surrender of all copies. Accordingly, Mr. Calvin Hill went to Providence to collect the Carpenters’ copies, only to hear that the New York public library now had a complete file of many of Mrs. Eddy’s letters. Gilbert Carpenter Jr. attempted to retrieve the material from the New York library, but it could be had only against payment of the photostating charges. (Later the Board of Directors arranged to appropriate these copies) (?)*

*The question mark was added by Gilbert Jr. He told me that Mr. Hill was greatly upset and apparently saw no point in taking away the Carpenter copies if they were equally accessible in the New York public library. Mr. Hill just wrung his hands, saying, “Oh, Gilbert, what have you done? what have you done?,” and he departed empty-handed.

Meanwhile Gilbert Carpenter Jr. and his father started to work on the material, which they retained, and took the Visions of Mary Baker Eddy related to Calvin Frye and others (referred to in uncomplimentary fashion in Dittemore’s book) and produced a small volume in which the father added his comments in accordance with what he understood Mrs. Eddy was trying to show her students in the way of lessons in the action of the human mind, when she related the “visions” to them.*

Attempts were now made to get the Carpenter book out of the Congressional Library, and the Board sent down one of their lawyers Mr. McKee to Washington to rescind the copyright and remove the two books on deposit there. The Librarian agreed to this without consulting the Carpenters, but it so happened that a man came into the Librarian’s office just as the books were brought for handing over; and knowing that they were being read by many interested persons he prevailed on the Librarian not to deprive the reading public of so valuable a book.

When a new librarian was appointed,** the Board approached the Carpenters again and drafted letters for Gilbert Jr. to sign saying that he had violated*** Mrs. Eddy’s literary rights in publishing in book form letters which Mrs. Eddy had written to Gilbert Sr. With the change of only one word, he agreed to sign; and in due course received word from Archibald McLeish, the new Librarian, that the two books had been returned to him. Days went by and the books never turned up; so knowing that a C. Scientist in Worcester had tried to have his (Gilbert Jr.’s) permission towrite to the Librarianrequestingthat the books be retained, he wrote asking if by any chance he had sent such a letter without his knowledge, adding that his new approach was not to be considered acquiescence on his part in such a letter, but merely a request for a copy of the letter.**** Guessing what had happened, this Worcester Scientist wrote off to McLeish without further ado, and a day or two after that, the Carpenters received a second letter from the Librarian stating that the demand for the book was such that he wished to retain it. Later he requested a further copy because the two he had were falling to pieces, and Gilbert Jr. sent one.

*At this point Gilbert Jr. struck out the following words I had written: “He sent it to the Directors, requesting that they allow it to be put out as an answer to the Dittemore allegations, and their reply was that error would destroy itself.”

**Six-word clause added by Gilbert Jr.

***Changed from “infringed” by Gilbert Jr.

****Last nine words of sentence added by Gilbert Jr.

Among those who read the book was Mr. John V. Dittemore, whose wife told the Carpenters that if he had had access to the book earlier, he never would have written of Mrs. Eddy in the way he did. Shortly after reading the Carpenter book he wrote the Directors acknowledging them as head of the C. S. movement, and three months later he died. The reading of the book brought him back to the fold.*

The Carpenters carried on with their collecting of items by and about Mrs. Eddy, and soon had several volumes in book form which like their predecessors went into the Congressional Library, but were privately printed and never went on sale.

*Whole sentence added by Gilbert Jr.

The Directors, under pressure by the “sixth Director” Miss Warren (corresponding secretary), then made a determined effort to put an end to the damage they felt that possession by the Carpenters of all their things might mean. Accordingly, she came down to Providence and was told by Gilbert Carpenter Jr. that if she found anything which the Board felt they ought not have, she should take it away. She took the lot, offering payment which was refused. On her return to Boston, she prepared documents for the Carpenters to sign, declaring that they had surrendered all their “unauthorized” material and retained no copies; but before the documents were ready she died, and with her died the attempt to deprive the Carpenters further of the material they possessed. Although Miss Warren had removed all the material at Providence, the question of copies had not yet been raised during her visit, and the eventual raising of it was cut short by her death. Gilbert Jr. therefore ascertained that copies had been retained by a private photostater* in Newport, who over a period of months had been photostating, gratis and for love, the whole collection. He had indeed retained copies, and within two weeks a whole set was back in the Carpenter household, with the exception of the photographs which Miss Warren had taken away and which the Carpenters had not thought necessary or feasible to photostat.

*As I recollect it, this photostater was in the photographic department of the naval base at Newport, R. I., a non-Scientist who was keeping company with one of Gilbert’s students. He had practice materials he could use, and spent time making copies for the Carpenters. These copies, of course, Miss Warren had taken. But he had made a spare set for himself, and when he was posted for transfer to another base, he thought before throwing it away, he would find out if the Carpenters had any use for another set. It was like the ram caught in a thicket (see Genesis 22:13) by which Gilbert Jr. knew that he did not have to sacrifice his Isaac.

However at this moment, Adelaide Still* sent her collection of material to the Carpenters, so that they quickly had back all that had been taken from them, and a little more besides from Adelaide Still.*

With the advent of the Still* material, Gilbert Jr. debated within himself the feasibility of holding such things in his own home, when his intention was the preservation of such things for the world for whomever would be directed to it of God. Consequently he founded the Carpenter Foundation on the lines of the Foundation, and incorporated it under the laws of Rhode Island. To this Foundation many of the early Scientists have bequeathed their collections, collections which hitherto have largely found their way on to the open market, particularly when the executors of estates have not themselves been Scientists.

In the middle of 1950, after the Directors had made their legal overtures, it became, of course, necessary to establish that Dittemore had indeed included literary rights when he allowed the Carpenters to have the trunkful of Eddy material. Since Dittemore was deceased, Frederick Remington had to be found. I recorded Gilbert Jr.’s account of this episode thus:

*Gilbert Jr. wrote in the correct name himself.

Gilbert Carpenter Jr. was informed that Remington was now located on Martha’s Vineyard and was dying. He wrote to him and was invited to pay Remington a visit. He missed the ferry which he had intended to catch and had to go to a different part of the island from that where he said he would land. To his intense astonishment he found Remington waiting for him there, not only having come by some means to the right landing point, but also quite recovered from his illness. He then made the following deposition at Vineyard Haven, Mass., on the 27th day of June, 1950:

“Be it known that I, Frederick Remington, of Vineyard Haven, Mass., sometime during the year, 1933, did negotiate between one John V. Dittemore of New York City, formerly a member of the Christian Science Board of Directors of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and one Gilbert C. Carpenter, Jr., of Providence, R. I. whereby on payment of five hundred dollars ($500.00) said Carpenter was given permission to copy the contents of a trunk belonging to said Dittemore, all of which material was later sold to the above named Church.

“Said trunk contained various manuscripts, books, pictures and letters pertaining to Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy, many of which were written by Mrs. Eddy and had never been published.

“In negotiating said transaction, I gained permission for Mr. Carpenter to have said trunk in his possession for a period of two weeks. I showed Mr. Dittemore some items which Mr. Carpenter had printed, and told him that the latter might wish to print some of the items in the trunk. Mr. Dittemore said to me, ‘He may do anything he wants to with the material.’

“Later I learned that Mr. Dittemore owned publishing rights in the material in the trunk on the basis of a letter written to him by Henry M. Baker, Executor of the estate of Mary Baker Eddy, on March 8, 1912, in which Mr. Baker gave him permission to publish Mrs. Eddy’s unpublished letters.

“In July, 1934, Mr. Dittemore relinquished all such rights in Mrs. Eddy’s letters for consideration, by signing a document assigning them in full to Mr. and Mrs. Calvin C. Hill, who were acting as agents of the above named Church. I was the only witness to the signing of this document, acting as such on the request of the above named Directors of The Mother Church.” (17)

When I had Gilbert Jr. certify that I had made a true copy of the Remington Deposition, I reminded him that he had given me such of his own copyrights as I needed for my own work in England. I asked if he would care to confirm his assignment of copyright. Without hesitation he signed the following which I added to the bottom of the same sheet of paper: “By letter sent to Richard F. Oakes, of Hook, Surrey, England, in the latter half of 1949, Mr. Carpenter stated that his compilations of material by and about Mary Baker Eddy were not specifically copyrighted in the United Kingdom but that in so far as his permission was required for reproducing such items in the United Kingdom it was hereby granted to said Richard F. Oakes.” (17)

As he handed it back to me after signing “Gilbert C. Carpenter, Jr. Feb. 11, 1951,” I said I wanted to be sure he knew what he had done: he had provided a perpetual second outlet for the items he was preserving for the world beyond the reach of his heirs or assigns. He replied simply: “That is why I have done it.”

A little over a year later, while I was in a ship somewhere along the coast of East Africa, he passed on. The story of aspirations, endeavors, suppressions, legal threats, now concerns me rather than Gilbert Jr., and I append it for what it is worth.

Man’s Heritage of Freedom

When I learned in London in 1945 that Gilbert Jr., as a newly formed foundation, had started releasing his several compilations to the world, I asked him to provide a copy of them all for the British Museum library, (1) visited annually by hundreds of Scientists to read and copy suppressed books like Adam Dickey’s “Memoirs of Mary Baker Eddy.”

He now assumed I would become a London Unit of his Foundation. (2) The idea of making sure that everything possible regarding Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy was gathered accessibly in London, in the same way as he appeared to be doing in Providence, R. I., and Rockport, Mass. — and in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco (2) — appealed to me. When he offered personally to provide the dollars needed for a post-war air passage to the United States and back, I made plans to take leave of absence from the United States Information Service where I worked, and see what I could collect.

The problem of getting hold of dollars outside England was largely solved when I managed to get two months’ paychecks from the U. S. I. S. made available in New York. What I was searching for was further framework for the library I had been developing. I wanted more of the early Journals, Sentinels, Quarterlies, key editions of the Manual, including the 73rd and 88th, early editions of Christ and Christmas and of items like Sibyl Wilbur’s biography, and other early authentic records of Mrs. Eddy’s footsteps.

I was happy to discover that Jack Neiburg of the Nottingham Bookstore on Huntington Avenue, Boston, had just purchased the Annie Bill collection of early literature, and most of the early Journals, Quarterlies, Series, etc., and other books I was looking for, like the massive account of the “World’s Parliament of Religions” (see Journal, Vol. XI, pp. 324, 378), were available for a few cents.

He let me have a complete set of Monitors from the first through 1910 for two dollars. A lady who had twice offered her collection of unbound early Journals to practitioners in London, without meeting a response, transferred them to me. These had the advantage of retaining all covers, notices, lists, which are often left off in bound collections. I could verify the one place I knew where anyone was shown as a D. S. D. (Doctor of Divine Science, often considered to signify those taught of God, wholly apart from the curricula where “state honors perish” — see Miscellaneous Writings, 358:4-8, also Journal, Vol. III, p. 215). The one concerned was Mary Baker G. Eddy, so described on the cover of Vol. VIII. No. 12, and on all the covers of Vol. IX.

On my return to London, I took steps to resign from the U. S. I. S. to devote my time to Christian Science work, and over the next few years located all of what I felt was the necessary framework for a reference library, including a long-sought copy of the first issue (February 1911) of the 89th edition of the Manual. I found it in a bookstore in San Jose.

I also had six sets of Carpenter compilations given to me by Gilbert Jr. One set I placed in the British Museum library, and one set I retained for my library, and the others went to individual Christian Scientists’ libraries in England on the understanding that, if they were of no further interest, they must be placed in the largest local public library, or be subject to redisposal by me or Gilbert Jr. (3)

My printed description of the “London Unit” said: “The room is available free of charge on a non-discriminatory basis to all those whose work in Christian Science makes them feel drawn to it . . . No attempt is made in the Unit’s study room to prescribe the course or order of reading, or to withhold items about Mrs. Eddy.” (4) Gilbert Jr. described the copy I sent him as “indeed excellent.” (5)

Yet it soon became apparent that a few personal libraries where some of the books were, in the final count, centrally controlled, did not answer man’s need for availability of good. They were, moreover, hardly permissible exceptions to the wisdom which described Mother Church organizations as ample for organizing Christian Science. I therefore told Gilbert Jr. that, in view of the danger of appearing to be building “one stone on another” such as Jesus said would be thrown down, (6) I was disbanding the London Unit. (7) Gilbert Jr. concurred; (8) he had already suggested that the time might come when it was necessary to print books in England. (9)

To make sure I was not now operating under false pretences, I wrote to all those who had contributed to the London Unit, and offered to return donations of books or money. As I was able to tell Gilbert in a letter dated March 11, 1948, no one withdrew anything, and they said they felt the new step was more in line with the original purpose of their contributions. (10)

One generous contributor wrote: “I understand that the London Unit of the Carpenter Foundation has ceased to exist and that the Library in your possession has no legal connection with the Carpenter Foundation, but that the sole bond between you and the Carpenters is a voluntary brotherly association. In the circumstances I accordingly withdraw the Journals, Sentinels and Bill in Equity which I lodged with the London Unit on indefinite loan on November 16th, 1946, the agreement with the London Unit of that date being rendered null and void and being hereby retracted. At the same time I re-donate all the books covered by this earlier agreement to the library in your possession and for the same purpose, namely, to insure their access to Christian Scientists who wish to read, study, or copy items on Christian Science. So long as such access is duly and reasonably granted, the books are to remain in your library without interference by me, or by my heirs or assigns.” The books referred to, and many more besides, were left to me outright in this donor’s will.

Realizing that “reasonable access” included more than expecting people to travel a hundred miles to view several hundred books for but a few hours, and acting on Gilbert Jr.’s suggestion, I began to prepare copies of the items most in demand. Immediately I ran into a refusal by a printer to touch anything until copyright was unequivocably cleared. (11)

I questioned Gilbert Jr. and a local lawyer, (12) and gathered from both that private reproduction (while not legally protected) generally avoided trouble. Gilbert Jr. said he did hold a few copyrights like the one on “Visions” (mainly his father’s text, not Mrs. Eddy’s), and gave me the right to reproduce these works in England. (13) (See the end pages in this pamphlet, showing that copyright permission is no longer relevant, except in the case of a few isolated phrases of no particular significance.)

At first I did reproduce “Visions” and “Essays” in the Carpenter format; along with two compilations of my own — the “Science of Man” collection, and the “Historical Sketches” collection, all independent of Carpenter text or copyright complications. When I came to considering “Collectanea,” I realized I could not happily accept the Carpenter format. (14)

Gilbert Jr. had told me he had just inserted the items as given to him, (15) and one of the reasons why he desired access to the Archives was to check their accuracy. He had, for instance, mistaken someone’s word and had ascribed to Mrs. Eddy one and a half pages of his Collectanea which were actually from a copyrighted work by a Christian Science teacher.

When I told him of my circulation plans and showed him what I had already compiled, I asked him to provide more source information and context on his Collectanea items. He spent several hours in February, 1951, going through the book with me so that my Revised Version, which was ready and in his hands before he passed on, had the extra background, also wide omission of the items ascribed to Mary Baker Eddy but not easily relatable to Science and Health as they stood. On the same basis I made three more compilations which I sold to those who requested them. (16) Later, at the instance of Gilbert Carpenter Sr., (17) I added those sections of the Carpenter prefaces which seemed relevant to the work: otherwise there was no Carpenter-authored text or remnants of Carpenter editing. Some eighteen months after the departure of Gilbert Jr., I sat down with the secretary of his Foundation and asked for assurances that the Carpenter items would be made freely available. Believing that I had such assurances, I said I wished to back out of the picture and let my mimeographed compilations exhaust themselves. At the end of 1953 I got married and prepared to enter the education world. Soon I heard rumors that the Carpenter Foundation was not making its items available — in fact, that it was even more difficult to get books and replies than in Gilbert Jr.’s most cautious time. I turned a deaf ear.

In 1956 I was in an aircraft that caught fire on landing, and although I made a rapid recovery from third-degree burns, I learned nothing from the incident. Eighteen months later, I was in a crash which resulted in several breakages. As soon as I was fully aware again, I found myself pondering, What am I being told, and why am I being told it so urgently and repeatedly? I soon realized I was not being allowed to back away from a job which, for some reason, I had been given to do, nor to reject a solemn promise made at the time of my discussions with Gilbert Jr. in February, 1951. Sightlessness and paralysis were healed overnight, and as I lay among pulleys and plaster I abruptly asked the surgeon when I could drive a car. He replied, “Well, there are hand-driven cars. We might get you into one of those in six months — let’s say seven months, to be on the safe side.” Two months later, when the plaster was all removed and I was driving a normal car normally, I rearranged two of my compilations into one book and drove to a printer. That was the “blue book,” which many people have found helpful.

A year later, I put the other two compilations together, and after various, unexplained delays, added Chapter VIII — “Visions” — feeling honor bound to include the Carpenter comments I felt were pertinent. I had used the full text in 1947, as arranged with Gilbert Jr.

I sent copies to the Carpenter Foundation, the first arriving a few days after Gilbert Sr. had passed on. Eventually the Foundation tried to stop both books, on the basis that this Chapter VIII, in one of the books, contained some copyright material, which they considered not covered by my permissions from Gilbert Jr. My Rhode Island lawyer established that at most one and a half pages could be said to be involved, and rather than make dispute, I removed all the Carpenter-authored, copyrighted, text, except for a few phrases of legally usable “fair comment”; and in its place wrote my own amplifications of the visions which seemed appropriate and which were on different lines from Gilbert Sr.’s.

However, our legal researches had established that:

  1. The copyright on the first edition of “Visions” had expired in 1959, and consequently only the Carpenter-authored text on pp. 17-20, and in the Addenda, of the second edition could possibly need the consent of Gilbert Jr.’s heirs for quotations, beyond “fair comment,” in this country.
  2. The copyright on the Carpenter introductions to the “Gilman Diary” and to “Early Verse” had also expired. The diary itself had long since reached the public domain by its unhampered distribution, Gilbert Jr. having, of course, no “permission” to publish or copyright it. The Eddy text in “Early Verse” had long since been free, since it was all copied from identifiable 19th Century publications.
  3. Copyright had expired on Gilbert Jr.’s “Watching Points,” that is, on the first 244 of his later “500 Watching Points,” which still is protected by copyright.
  4. Copyright had expired on “Mary Baker Eddy: Her Spiritual Footsteps,” first edition. This means that the only parts of the current (second) edition that can be controlled are, in general, the final paragraphs added to pages 22, 62, 72, 75, 105, 145, 151, 154, 187, 193, 199, 206, 214, 215, 231, 247, 249, 278, 338, 342, 350, 354, 357, 364, 368, 370, 373, 389, 392, and some changed wording as on pages 254-5 and 287.
  5. “Collectanea”; “Essays”; “Fragments”; “Watches, Prayers, Arguments”; “Miscellaneous Documents,” distributed by Gilbert Jr. in their hundreds (18) beginning more than 30 years ago — without protection of “proprietory rights,” and without statutory copyright before the Carpenter Foundation tried to get it 15-20 years too late — are free for the world. Far from preserving “proprietory rights” by going out as temporary loans to a few individuals, for interest and comment, the books come under Gilbert Jr.’s own recommendation in print (19) that unknown persons happening upon them should study them, or, if necessary, lay them aside until they do feel “the urge to study them and determine their worth” (emphasis added). Nothing was said about returning them: the restrictive notices in the books that do now get out were added after the departure of the two Gilbert Carpenters. (For an account of the total availability of “Divinity Course” and “Obstetrics,” see pp. 14-15.)

  6. The copyright on Gilbert Jr.’s “Pembroke College Address” has also long since expired; but copyright renewals on his “Questions and Answers,” and on “Poems of Spiritual Thought” by both Gilbert Carpenters, have several years still to run.
  7. Copyright on “Items,” with its long Carpenter introduction, was attempted by the Foundation more than ten years after copies had been circulating unrestricted in small numbers. However, the Eddy writings in the main text are from identifiable 19th Century publications and were already free for use 40-60 years ago, when the Milmine and Dakin books quoted several extracts.

The following was established about items on the Foundation’s present total restriction (“No Distribution”) list: (20)

  1. “Mary Baker Eddy: Her Spiritual Precepts.” These volumes represented the major work, over the years, of Gilbert Jr. and his father; and he was apprehensive that their circulation could bring legal reprisals (see p. 22, third para.). That is why even close friends like myself were not made aware of the lengths to which he had gone to make sure the work would reach the public domain by some route or other.
    I reckoned that there were possibly five places to which he had sent microfilms of Volumes I, II, III: (21) it was not until 1963 that I discovered that his distribution of the completed text had been much wider and fuller. A few months later, I learned that, through the action of Gilbert Jr. alone, copies running to more than twice the length of the microfilm total, had come on to the open market. The owner was someone I had never heard of, and the secretary of the Carpenter Foundation could find no correspondence with her. (22)
  2. “Footprints Fadeless.” This work was duly copyrighted by Mrs. Eddy in 1902, and withheld from the public only on the advice of her lawyers at the time (see “Mary Baker Eddy,” by Bates and Dittemore, p. 374). If Gilbert had been seen distributing this before 1958, when the copyright expired, he would probably have been asking for trouble; but the circumstances have changed.
  3. “Repaid Pages.” This group of seven magnificent essays by Mrs. Eddy is linked with the title copyrighted by her in 1896. Gilbert Jr. may have been wary of it, but I have his letter of September 9, 1947, saying he hoped he might include it in his next publication “so that it will be more accessible than in a single book.” (23)
    He supplied the copies which enabled a facsimile of one of its pages (with Mrs. Eddy’s corrections in her own handwriting) to appear in Arthur Corey’s “Christian Science Class Instruction” and later in Braden’s “Christian Science Today.”
  4. “Frye Diary.” The mundane parts of this diary, that some people might misinterpret or want to suppress, are already in the fourth edition of Edwin Dakin’s book on Mary Baker Eddy, which I have seen on several bookshelves. Gilbert Jr. certainly let the Diary go out. A copy of his version was in a collection of books and papers left to me by a Christian Scientist in his will.
  5. The Bliss Knapp book about Ira and Flavia Knapp. On this, Gilbert Jr. wrote to me in December, 1948: “I have been told that I was at fault for making the photostat of the Knapp book” (a copy of which he sent me) “but his objection at law would have to be accompanied by proof that I had damaged his business in a financial way — and he has none — since he distributes the book gratuitously.” (24)
    (The other Bliss Knapp book — “The Destiny of The Mother Church” — also has no price. Despite its total suppression (see p. 24, lines 11-15), many grateful readers have copies, or copies of copies, and value its metaphysics and its historical information. A friend recently found a copy in a bundle of discarded books purchased from a city’s public library.)
  6. The Baker Notes (Metaphysical Instruction, Metaphysical Work, Kimball’s Board of Education Notes) were originally the “physical” property of Raymond Cornell, although Gilbert Jr. was granted certain limited rights of reproduction by Cornell, whose estate was later purchased by the Rare Book Company of New York. In the estate were the original copyright assignments to Cornell, although the works are now copyright-free.
  7. “History of the Christian Science Movement,” by William Lyman Johnson. The copyright on this book has expired, as the Carpenter Foundation apparently knows. (25) The reasons given for its being “locked up” entirely (26) is that the Christian Science Board of Directors is said to have initially objected to its publication. (27)

Gilbert Jr. might have had comments on this acceptance of an alleged attitude by the Board, much as he wrote to me in 1946: “The thing I most demand” — entrance into the Archives — “they declare is impossible. I refuse to accept that and I continue to believe that it is time for these things to be opened.” (28)

The work Gilbert Carpenter Jr. did in helping to rescue for the world the hundreds of items which Truth alone can assess, will never be hidden. Mrs. Eddy wrote: “Discerning the rights of man, we cannot fail to foresee the doom of all oppression . . . God made man free.” (29)

(All “exhibits” in the references refer to Civil Action No. 85042, Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Joaquin; and the dates shown thereafter indicate the original time of drafting of the exhibit.)

Part II (“The Dittemore Collection”): (1) Exhibits 13-35 (12/21/45) 13-1 or QQ (7/51); (2) Exh. 13-34 (12/2/45); (3) Exh. 13-26 (1/15/38); (4) Exh. 102 (4/38); (5) Exh. 13-3 (4/38); (6) S&H 266:12; (7) Exh. SS, p. 532 et seq. (1/66), 13- 102 (12/48), 13-2 (1/49), 13-93 (6/50), Z-41 (4/11/51), 14- 118 (3/52), etc.; (8) Exh. 13-34 (12/2/45); (9) Exh. L, p. 5 (1934) ; (10) Exh. 13-60 & 13-62 (8/47), 13-72 (3/23/50); (11) S&H 583:12; (12) Man. 70:12; (13) Exh. 13-90 (6/50), 13- 96 (5/51); (14) Exh. 13-95 (12/50); (15) Exh. 22 (9/67); HH- 90 (7/24/64); (16) Exh. 1 (1950) ; (17) Exh. 9 or 13-113 & 177 (6/27/50 & 2/11/51).

Part III (“Man’s Heritage of Freedom”): (1) Exh. 13-34 (12/2/45); (2) Exh. 13-33 (12/17/45); (3) 14-1 (1/19/55); (4) Exh. 13-106, or 8 (6/1/47); (5) Exh. 13-61 (8/4/47); (6) Mark 13:2; (7) Exh. 13-76 (3/11/48), 13-104 (10/12/48), 13-105, or 7 (12/10/48); (8) Exh. 13-20 (2/26/48), 13-103 (11/48); (9) Exh. 13-9 (8/22/47); (10) Exh. 13-76 (3/48); (11) Exh. 13-104 (10/12/48), 13-105, or 7 (12/10/48), 13-2 (1/49); (12) Exh. 13-105, or 7 (12/10/48); (13) Exh. 13-102 (12/48), 13-2 (1/49); (14) Exh. 13-64 (9/5/47); (15) Exh. 13- 82 (3/49); (16) Exh. 144 (2/7/52); (17) Exh. 13-108 (7/14/52); (18) Exh. SS, p. 532 (1/66), etc.; (19) Exh. Q, p. 4 (1938) ; (20) Exh. 22 (9/67); (21) Exh. 13-37 (1/21/46), 13-43 (3/46), 13-55 (5/47), 13-71 (12/47); (22) Exh. 22 (1/66); (23) Exh. 13-65 (9/9/47); (24) Exh. 13-78 (12/48); (25) Testimony, p. 169 (2/71); (26) ibid. p. 166; (27) ibid. p. 192; (28) Exh. 13-8 (3/1/46); (29) S&H 227:12.