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ordinary bronchitis. One or two, not more, may
possibly have been early consumption. Which of us
has not friends who were consumptive, and now are
strong, and hard at work .?

Let us apply a fair and mild test to these two
hundred cases. Let us show them to any doctor;
and let us ask him what he thinks of them. He
will laugh at them: he will say, "What is the good
of such cases ? Why don't they report them prop-
erly ? Why don't they give details ? What do
they mean by spinal trouble, and all the other


Still, attempts have been made, from time to time,
to get right up to these healings in Christian Science,
and to go into them. Of course, if the Church of
Christ, Scientist, here in London to-day, would
submit them to the hosts of ^Esculapius, the difficulty
would be settled. A committee of hospital phy-
sicians and surgeons, the best in London, would ex-
amine, test, watch, record, and report every case
under treatment. Till that is done, which is im-
possible. Christian Science claims to heal all dis-
eases. For example, among her documents is that
famous cure of leprosy, the Barrett case.

I. The Barrett Case

The Christian Science Sentinel, August 8, 1908,
gave prominent place to the following statement : —

This is not the first time Christian Scientists have been chal-
lenged to produce proof of the healing of so-called incurable dis-
eases. Within the last few months, such a challenge was answered
before the Committee on Public Health at the Massachusetts State
House, the healing of Dr. G. W. Barrett, of St. Louis, of leprosy,
being cited, authenticated, and admitted as evidence * before this

I wrote to Dr. Barrett, and received the following
answer : —

In reply to your inquiry of August 17, will say that you can in
all probability get the desired information by writing to Alfred

* Mr. Farlow suddenly produced a telegram from Barrett,
saying that he had been healed on such-and-such a day.


Farlow, C.S.D., Boston, Mass. He is publication committee
of Mass. You can learn somewhat of my case in the C. Sentinel
of March 14 of this year. "Out of Darkness into Light," is the
title of the article. I am too busy to give any of the details.

It is a pity that this ex-leper is too busy to give
glory to God; but the Boston Journal, March 5,
1908, gave me the details. Three Bills were before
the Committee on Public Health : one dealing with
the legal position of Christian Scientists, one with
the protection of children against them, and one
with the giving of death certificates by doctors not
in regular attendance. Cases of "healing" were
put in evidence; and, amid great excitement, Mr.
Farlow declared that Dr. Barrett had been healed of
leprosy. "In a moment the room was in an uproar;
hundreds of women, jubilant over the sudden turn
of affairs, loudly applauded." Indeed, we are told
that ** the assembly shrieked with delight." *

* There is a grim account, by Dr. Huber, of a similar scene
in the Assembly Chamber at Albany, February 1900. "While
the hearing went on, I contemplated the great number of enthu-
siasts who had come into this magnificent chamber to impress
the Assembly Committee, and to uphold their leaders. The
opportunity to study hysteria was one the like of which I shall
probably never again realise. I vividly recalled Poe's story of
how he had inadvertently happened into a mat son de sante; and
I could quite appreciate the observation of a colleague, that the
situation made him think of nothing in the world so much as
one of Charcot's clinics on an enlarged scale." But, at the Albany
meeting, other forms of belief were represented: spiritualism,


Dr. Barrett, in his published account of his case,
tells us that for thirty years he was never free from
some ailment, and continually taking medicine.
** It seemed impossible to get rid of biliousness, which,
from a mortal standpoint, I have inherited.'* So,
at last, he went for a short holiday. "I returned
home worse than when I went away — a physical
wreck, suffering from enlargement and softening of
the liver, indigestion, ulceration of the bowels in the
most aggravated form, heart trouble, and that most
dreaded of all diseases, leprosy, which had been con-
tracted when called to see a patient who had been
afflicted with it. I felt a sense of fear come over me
while in the room, but never dreamed of its being
leprosy, as I had never seen a case of that kind. I
told the patient that I could do nothing, and left.''*
Some time afterward he noticed some spots on his
body. He says that "a specialist" pronounced them
"leprosy in its incipient stage." He felt that his
days on earth were few. "I can see now that it was
my fear that fastened the disease upon me." So he
paid one visit to a Christian Scientist, who laughed
at him, and told him to eat what he liked. In
half-an-hour, the pain in his bowels was gone: an
hour later, he ate a huge dinner. He gives two
hundred words to a description of the dinner, and

occultism, etc. Still, it is certain that Christian Science has not
always a quieting influence.

* Words fail me to comment on this episode of Barrett's story.


of its results next morning, by which time the spots
had "nearly vanished." Three months later, he
had gained thirty pounds in weight.

Here is a typical case of hypochondriasis, with
imagined infection. Oddly enough, a similar case
has occurred in Dr. M'Comb's " Class for the Moral
Treatment of Nervous Disorders," Emmanuel
Church, Boston : —

... "A case of a curious phobia — fear of leprosy. The
patient had read in the Bible about lepers, and she had heard of
some Chinese sufferers from the same malady. Suddenly the fear
seized her that she was in danger of becoming a leper. She
spent most of her time in washing her hands to get rid of the sup-
posed contagion, until she remembered that the soap might be
infected. Then she came to the clinic. After a few treatments,
the fear vanished, and has not returned. This occurred several
months ago."

2. Dr. Huber's Evidence

Dr. Huber, of New York, some years ago, made
very careful inquiry into alleged healings of organic
diseases. He found them "pitifully without founda-
tion." I take the following account from his paper
in Appletons Popular Science Monthly: —

In religious matters. Christian Science has divided many homes,
and has destroyed not a few through the mischief produced by its
propaganda. Many have died during the exclusive ministrations
of Christian Scientists. I have been engaged during several months
in an investigation of the cures which Christian Science healers
are said to have accomplished. . . . What I did want especially
to discover was whether the Christian Scientist could cure such


diseases as are considered by the medical man to be incurable —
as cancer, locomotor ataxia, or advanced phthisis — and also what
were the results of their treatment of typhoid fever, pneumonia,
diphtheria, malaria, etc. And I wanted also to investigate the claims
of Christian Science concerning the alleged cure of surgical con-
ditions, such as necrosis, or haemorrhage from severed arteries, by
no other means than the sole exercise of thought.

Dr. Huber therefore prepared a set of questions
as to the general methods of Christian Science
treatment.* These were forwarded by Mrs. Stetson,
the chief Scientist in New York, to Mrs. Eddy.
An evasive reply was received from Judge Septimus
Hanna, Mrs. Eddy's "counsel": —

... I have carefully read and considered the entire paper.
My conclusion is, that it will be wholly impractical — indeed, I
may say impossible — to answer these questions in such a manner
as to make an entire paper fit for publication in a medical journal,
or in any other magazine or periodical. The questions submitted
touch the entire subject of Christian Science, both in its theology
and therapeutics. These questions can be answered only in one
way so that they can be understood, and that is by just such study
of the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
as the earnest, sincere. Christian Scientists are giving them every
day of their lives, and have been for years.

Of this letter, Dr. Huber truly says, "All this
seems to me much worse than preposterous. I fail
utterly to see why he who asks the question, *Do
you isolate a patient suffering from an infectious

* For these questions, see Lyman Powell, work cited, p. 178.


disease?' would have to spend months or years in
Nirvana-like abstraction before he would be able
to appreciate an answer to it. No doubt Judge
Hanna, who is evidently a lawyer, could, if he chose,
telLthe reason why."

So Dr. Huber made personal and very careful
xamination of twenty cases, where it was alleged
that Christian Science had healed, not neurasthenia
or "hysteria," but organic diseases, such as Bright's
disease, or cancer. " I could find in all these twenty
cases no *cure' that would have occasioned the
medical man the slightest surprise. What did
surprise me was the vast disproportion between
the results they exhibited and the claims made by
Christian Science healers. A lady stated that she
had had pneumonia. I asked her how she knew
she had had pneumonia. She declared she knew,
because her nurse 'could tell at a glancejhe had
pneumonia.' No medical examination had been
made. I asked what symptoms she had had.
She told me she had purposely forgotten. I heard,
during my investigation, of cases of yellow fever,
phthisis, cancer, and locomotor ataxia which had
been 'healed in Christian Science.' But truth
compels the statement that my efforts to examine
these cases were defeated by the cheapest sort of
^ subterfuge and elusion."

Among other instances of such defeat, he gives the
following : —


At an "experience meeting," a man arose and declared that
he had cured a case of locomotor ataxia. I learned also that his
wife, another "healer," had cured a case of cancer of the tongue.
I went to his house, and spent the greater part of an evening
trying to prevail upon these two people to show me or to intro-
duce me to these subjects of locomotor ataxia and cancer of the
tongue. They utterly refused to do so.

. . . Mrs. Eddy declares that she "healed consumption in its
last stages, the lungs being mostly consumed"; that she "healed
carious bones which could be dented with the finger"; and that
she "healed in one visit a cancer that had so eaten the flesh of the
neck as to expose the jugular vein so that it stood out like a cord."
Judge Hanna has published statements to the effect that "cancer,
malignant tumours, consumption, broken bones, and broken tis-
sues have been healed in Christian Science, without the assistance
of any material means whatever." Mr. Carol Norton, a Christian
Science lecturer, has publicly announced that Christian Science has
healed "locomotor ataxia, softening of the brain, paresis, tumour,
Bright's disease, cancer," etc. And many other Christian Scientists
have made like claims. Very well then. Who are these people
that have thus been cured ? What are their names ? Where do
they live ? How can they be found .? Will Mrs. Eddy and her
followers submit these cases for scientific examination ? I and
other investigators are asking, and have for years been asking these
questions, and we are all of us still waiting for answers.

3. Mr. Purrington's Evidence

Mr. Purrington, University Lecturer on Medical
Jurisprudence, New York, has written a very good
book on Christian Science, especially from its legal
aspect in America. I take the following paragraph
from his book : —


In the record of deaths resulting from the treatment of Christian
Scientists, Faith Curers, PecuHar People, et id genus omne^ a large
proportion are those of neglected children suffering from acute
inflammation of the lungs, diphtheria, pneumonia, and like com-
plaints. One horrible and typical case in Brooklyn was brought
to public notice by an undertaker called in by a Faith Curer to
bury the latter's child, six years of age, dead from diphtheria. Two
other children, one about eight, the other less than two years old,
were found suffering from the same disease. The father explained
his failure to call in medical aid by saying he did not believe in
doctors, since he believed in Christ.

Mr. Purrington gives an account of the investiga-
tion of a case, "turned out to die'' by a great hos-
pital, "given up by three physicians," and healed
by Christian Science. This case was told to him
by a member of the patient's family. Mr. Purring-
ton asked his informant to give him "all the facts";
but his letter was treated as an offence, and the
information was not given. But he obtained, from
the attending physicians, "accurate information,
showing my correspondent to have been absolutely
misinformed in the premises, however honest in

He also describes, at great length, an encounter
with Mr. Carol Norton, who is, or was, on the
Board of Lecturers of the First Church of Christ,
Scientist, the "Mother-Church." In 1899, Mr.
Norton gave a lecture (copyrighted), in which
he declared that Christian Science had cured loco-
motor ataxia, cancer, etc. : and he offered to give


memcal evidence. A copy of this lecture was sent
to Mr. Purrington, who wrote to him, March 30,
1899: —

... I should be veiy much obliged to you, if you will give
the names and addresses of reputable and competent medical
practitioners, who will certify to the second case, the cure of an
incurable cancer; the third case, the cure of a child suffering from
epileptic fits from birth, and having forty spasms a day at the
commencement of treatment; the fourth case, a cure of "consump-
tion of the lungs in the second stage of that disease"; the fifth case,
a cure of a patient ill with typhoid fever in Paris and treated by a
practitioner in New York; the eighth case, the cure of a lady
forty years old, unsuccessfully treated for thirty-five years for "or-
ganic valvular diseases of the heart" by physicians who pronounced
the disease incurable. I should like to know what persons made
the diagnoses in these cases, the course of treatment followed, the
method taken to exclude in the cure other factors than treatment
by Christian Science, and the present condition of the person

On May 8, after a good deal of letter-writing,
**Mr. Norton did me the honour of calling, with the
promised * medical confirmation,' which consisted in
each case of a brief statement of conclusions signed
by a Christian Scientist. Of these signers, one was
said to have studied in a homoeopathic, and another
in a regular medical college. No facts were set forth
upon which the conclusions were based, no names were
connected with the certificates that would carry any
weight with the general medical profession, or any
body of trained investigators."


4. Dr. Buckley's Evidence

Dr. Buckley, in a very careful paper in the North
American Review, July 1901, says : "The failures of
Christian Science are innumerable. Twenty years
ago I collected vital statistics of various communistic
institutions which refuse medical aid, and compared
them with the tables of life insurance companies;
and on the basis of the results of the comparison, I
predicted that, should Christian Science at any time
begin to spread rapidly, or should anti-medicine,
faith-healing institutions be largely increased, the
number of deaths would attract attention, and public
indignation be excited by failures to heal maladies
which ordinarily yield to medical or surgical treat-
ment. This prediction is now being fulfilled every
day. Many who have been vainly treated by Chris-
tian Scientists are dead. None of their failures is
mentioned by the healers, and few by living victims,
who are usually silenced by shame. One I met in
an insane asylum, muttering all day long, *God
can never be sick.' "

5. Prof. H. H. Goddard's Evidence

Prof. Goddard, like Dr. Huber, prepared a set of
questions, and sent them to persons who had been
healed in Christian Science. He got back a set of
answers which told him nothing. One answer was
as follows: "Whereas, before I was healed from


chronic invalidism through the teachings of Christian
Science, I used to think much on your topics, I wish
never to think or refer to them again. They are
mental poison to me." In another case, the ques-
tions and answers were as follows : —

What was the nature of your malady?

It had none.

How long had you been afflicted with it?

Ever since the belief that disease was a substantial reality instead
of a negation.

How did you first discover that you were a victim of disease?
Give fully your symptoms.

By a consciousness of limitation, i.e. finiteness.

How did the idea come to you that you could he healed?

The conviction . . . that it was right to be well; and sickness
was a wrong.

Was your cure instantaneous ?


How did you know that you were cured?

By the receding of disease, and the corresponding increasing
of health and strength.

Did you know it at the time, or not until later?

At the time ; since mind first perceiving the truth, its objective
manifestation begins to appear.

Did you have to test ity before becoming convinced that a cure
had actually taken place?

No; it brought its own self-evident proof with it.

6. Dr. Moll's Evidence

Dr. Albert Moll, M.D., Berlin, has written an ad-
mirable little book on Christian Science, Medicine,
and Occultism (translated into English, and pub-


lished by Rebman, London, 1902). He gives a good
account of the introduction of Christian Science into
Germany, and of the growth of occultism (which
has been for many years his special study) in Berlin.
Of Christian Science, he says: "My researches were
made both in America and in Berlin, and my in-
formation is gained not only from persons who have
been treated by Christian Scientists, but also from
Christian Science healers themselves, who, I must
admit, gave it ungrudgingly. . . . All the cases
where a cure or improvement was claimed, and which
I had the opportunity of seeing and testing per-
sonally, were only disorders of a functional character,
such as hysteria, nervous debility, etc. . . . These
cases of hysteria, of general nervous debility, and of
rheumatic affections, offer a remunerative field for
the exploits of psychical treatment. Undoubtedly in
the treatment of many of these ailments Christian
Science can boast of unqualified success."

7. Dr. Cabot's Evidence

Above all. Dr. Cabot's recent article in McClure's
Magazine is essential for the study of Christian
Science. "Some years ago I followed up, so far as
was possible through personal interviews and through
letters, all the Christian Science * cures' of which I
could hear any details in or near Boston. Within a
short time, I have returned to the subject and studied


one hundred of the cases recorded in the recent
volumes of the Christian Science Journal. Putting
together this evidence, and comparing it with my
experience regarding the accuracy of my own patients'
statements about their own diseases, past and present,
my conclusions are, first, that most Christian Science
cures are probably genuine; but, second, that they
are not the cures of organic diseases. In my own
personal researches into Christian Science 'cures,'
I have never found one in which there was any good
evidence that cancer, consumption, or any other or-
ganic disease had been arrested or banished. The diag-
nosis was usually either made by the patient himself,
or was an interpretation at second or third hand of
what a doctor was supposed to have said. As I have
followed up the reported cases of 'cancer' and other
malignant tumours, I have found either that they
were not tumours at all, or that they were assumed to
be malignant without any microscopic examination.
In other words, the diagnosis was never based upon
any proper evidence. ... By a curious process
of 'natural selection,' a patient suffering from
organic disease rarely consults a Christian Scientist,
just as he rarely consults an osteopath. Being igno-
rant of diagnosis, the Christian Scientist is not aware
of this fact, and supposes that he is treating, not a
selected group of functional diseases, but all disease.
This mistake is all the more natural, because the
Christian Scientist, with the natural credulity of the


half-educated, accepts the patient's diagnosis at its
face value, or trusts the hearsay report of what some
doctor is supposed to have said. ... It is a striking
fact that, as one listens to the recital of Christian
Science 'cures,' one hears little or nothing of the
great common organic diseases, such as arterio-scle-
rosis, phthisis, appendicitis, and still less of the
common acute diseases, such as pneumonia, malaria,
apoplexy. Chronic nervous (that is, mental) disease
is the Christian Scientist's stock-in-trade."

It is plain, from these evidences, and from the
previous chapter, that Christian Science accepts all
testimonials, even the most fantastical and illiterate.
That she embellishes what she publishes.* That
she evades investigation. That her claim to cure
organic diseases breaks down under the most ele-
mentary rules of criticism. That she does cure
"functional" diseases. That she has never cured,
nor ever will, any disease, except those which have
been cured, a hundred thousand times, by "mental
therapeutics." From the setting-up of the brazen
serpent in the wilderness, and the works of healing
in the temples of iEsculapius, mankind has used,
for better for worse, mental therapeutics. We live

* For further evidence, see Dr. Cabot's paper, and the pam-
phlet, The Los Angeles Case.


and move under suggestion, and are suggested from
our cradles to our graves.

There remain two direct lines of attack against
the works of Christian Science.

Imagine a great hospital, suddenly turned Scientist:
a general hospital of some six hundred beds. Think,
what has been its daily life. Not perfect, not fault-
less : among so many patients — more than 6000
in-patients, 22,000 out-patients, 1700 maternity cases
attended at their own homes, and 121,000 casualties,
all in one year — the work all day, the work all
night, the infinite variety of this shifting multitude
of diseased and injured lives — now and again
mistakes are made, or there is a want of loving
kindness toward this or that patient. Only, think
of the general excellence of the work : the trouble
taken over obscure cases, the nursing and watching
and recording and reporting and consulting, the
working together of the wards and the laboratories,
the care taken to treat not only the disease but the
patient. Neither is it cant, to say that nobody, save
the servants of a great hospital, knows what good
measure of spiritual treatment, one way and another,
it gives to its guests : how truly it is Maison Dieu.

Suddenly, Christian Science comes down like a
fog, and fills every ward of the great hospital. For
the first few hours, there was nothing worse than


Chaos: then, there was Hell. In one ward, that
day, fifteen patients discharged themselves, and
went out, saying that they did not believe in drugs:
two of them were on bromide for epilepsy, and four
were on iodide for a contagious disease, and one was
on thyroid extract. Another ward had a case of
strangulated hernia, which was allowed to become
gangrenous : a case of appendix-abscess, which was
allowed to burst into the peritoneal cavity: and a case
of empyema, three pints of pus in the chest, which
were not let out, because the patient said that all
effusions were unreal. In one medical ward, were
six cases of advanced heart disease, who all got out
of bed and took violent exercise. Another ward
had three cases of spinal caries with suppuration:
they also got out of bed, and tried to hang on gym-
nasium bars. The list of operations for the day had
included two cases of early cancer, a chronic ab-
dominal obstruction, a fractured skull with depression
of bone, a huge ovarian cyst, and a tracheotomy.
Nothing was done for them. At the end of a week
of the new dispensation. Christian Science had

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Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 10 of 16)