Stephen Paget.

The faith and works of Christian science online

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ease: it was the moral side of the business that shocked me.


The callousness and brutality that were shown, the absence of
pity for a helpless patient, and the humbugging talk it was all
wrapped up in, really made me shudder. I have no patience
now with the smooth things people say at Congresses, about
Christian Science being practically useful though based on bad
metaphysics." *

32. "Mrs. came to see me in July, as she had noticed a

lump in her breast: she was accompanied by her husband. It
was perfectly obvious that the tumour was malignant. I gave
that as my opinion, and advised a second doctor being called in,
with a view to its early removal. They left me with the names
of three surgeons, one of whom I advised them to see. I did not
see the patient again till September, when she and her husband
called, to show me *how wrong my diagnosis was.* On examina-
tion, I found the growth to be considerably larger, and there were
then glands to be felt under the edge of the pectoral muscle.
The husband told me that the * improvement* followed on Chris-
tian Science treatment. I agreed with him that the general con-
dition of Mrs. was vastly improved, but I took him on one

side and told him that the growth was bigger, that there were
now glands, and that the delay had imperilled the success of an
operation. To my surprise, he took no notice of what I said,
but merely gave me a lecture on the prevailing sin of blindness,

* Even Miss Reed, who said these smooth things at the time
of the Pan-Anglican Congress, says: "When it is possible for a
Christian Scientist to live, as they frequently do, in the midst of
awful scenes of suffering, without one expression of regret or one
physical manifestation of sympathy, we can easily account for
their high degree of * vital resistance.* This brings us face to
face with one of the saddest of facts regarding Christian Science,
that true womanly sympathy is being imperilled by the preva-
lence of this philosophy which robs sorrow of its reality and makes
pain a delusion."


as both he and his wife had watched the gradual disappearance
of the lump! The 'treatment* continued till the end of Novem-
ber, when I saw her for the last time : the grqwth had fungated,
which they were told was a good sign, and they believed it 1 She
died from septic absorption in January."

33. "I operated on a woman, at the County Hospital,

for a large uterine myoma. She told me that she had been under
treatment from the Christian Scientists for her tumour for nearly
two years. The abdomen had steadily increased in size, and
having spent all her money she came to the Hospital. She made
a good recovery both in body and mind, for she spoke of the
folly or fraud of her former advisers."

34. "My experience of the practical side of Christian Science
is restricted to one case, that of a gentleman who suffered from
locomotor ataxia, one symptom of which is difficulty in walking.
His wife, a Christian Scientist, roundly declared that he was not
in the least paralysed, that he could walk quite well; and, of
course, pressed her point of view : with the result that this poor
man fell and cut his forehead. Yet he was told there was no cut,
and that therefore there was no pain nor any bleeding. In a
few months after this, the poor gentleman died from his nerve

35. "I am now lamenting the early death of a dear relative,
who for years suffered from cancer. If it were not that her hus-
band followed to a certain extent this creed, the surgeon would
have stepped in, to relieve, if not to cure, the patient. My rela-
tive was allowed to suffer and to die without an attempt by surgery
to relieve the symptoms or prolong life."

36. "I have known several cases of serious illness subjected
to Christian Science treatment, but I have never known it to
effect a cure. In most cases the symptoms were mitigated, but
the patient died of the disease. On the other hand, I have seen
nervous complaints permanently improved. In every case the
treatment appeared to be identical with animal magnetism. . . .


One word as to the cases said to recover after being * given up
by the doctors.* The only one of which I have personal know-
ledge proved on inquiry to be a neurotic patient whose doctor had
given her up, not because her case was hopeless, but because he
told her frankly that drugs would not cure her, but fresh air, and
a simple and healthy Hfe, probably would."

■^J. "At one time I was almost converted to their views. Be-
ing told that daily perusal of Science and Health was absolutely
necessary, I paid fourteen shillings for a copy, and read it from
cover to cover. I was completely cured, not of my fibroid tumour
and other ills, but of any desire to become a follower of the author
of that illuminating volume. Possibly the failure of my * healer'
to make a cure, added to the loss of a very dear relative who
firmly believed in the doctrines of Christian Science, and yet who
passed away in spite of the efforts of two healers — may have
helped to disillusion me. To be told that * error had crept in
somewhere,' was neither comforting nor convincing."

38. "A near relative of mine (hopeless tuberculosis) deter-
mined as a last resource to have Christian Science treatment. A
healer came down from London, and was most kind and helpful
as a nurse, and succeeded in inspiring the utmost confidence in
all concerned. For a few weeks the treatment was apparently
successful, but she then required a second healer for absent treat-
ment to be engaged. This was done, and it was found necessary
that this healer should also come down and see the patient occa-
sionally. After about two months of this treatment, no perma-
nent cure seeming likely, it was suggested that the patient should
go up to London, to be in the midst of Christian Scientists and
to attend lectures. The dear child became rapidly worse from
the moment she reached town, and, in just three weeks after,
she breathed her last. The healer up to the very last assured
her mother that it was impossible she could die, and, even after
her spirit left her, said, *She is not dead, not the real child; she
is still alive.'"


39. The Daily Telegraphy September 6, 1907, reports that on
Wednesday, September 4, 1907, in the First Church of Christ,
Scientist, New York, a man called Clarence Byrne "made a
scene." He had just done thirty days' hard labour in gaol, he
said, because he, following the tenets of Mrs. Eddy, allowed his
six year old daughter to die of pneumonia without medical atten-
tion. "Inquiries made to-day among the Christian Scientists
result in the repudiation by them of Byrne as a Christian Scien-
tist, and to say that he has been a healer they declare is prepos-
terous. His object, they allege, in making a scene in the church
last night was merely to secure advertisement for the 'Divine
Metaphysics Church,* which he helped to establish, and which
preaches the Eddy doctrine in a modified form." It appears
that Byrne spoke so low that not many heard what he said. That
is not like an impostor. "I have done with Christian Science,"
he said. "My eyts have been opened. You don't go out into
the highways and bye-ways, seeking the poor and afflicted whom
Christ loved, and whom the Salvation Army in these days seeks
first, last, and all the time. You are blinded by love of gold.
My daughter died under the treatment of healer John Roberts,
and I was arrested because I had no death certificate. I bear
malice against none. The reason why I cannot longer worship
in this church is that, while I was bearing my cross, this congre-
gation, through one of its representatives, publicly repudiated me
as one not of the faith, and cast me out. When I needed com-
fort I was passed by on the other side, as the priest and Levite
of the parable passed by the wounded man. I have been a Chris-
tian Scientist for twelve years. My wife, and three children of
ten that I had born to me, died under Christian Science minis-
trations, and yet I remained true to the faith. Yet, at the hour
of my great need, there was no one to bring me comfort."

40. "A woman living in this village had for two years been
taking bromide, and had been at home in poor health that length
of time, suffering from depression. She came into my service


about three or four years ago as a temporary parlour-maid for a
couple of months, during which time she took her bromide regu-
larly, and was able to earn her living. She then went as parlour-
maid to Mrs. , a Christian Scientist, who told her not to take

any medicine. Before long she had to leave ill, and was subse-
quently taken to the Asylum. She recovered after a time, and
returned home, and is now earning her living in a doctor's house
as a domestic servant, where she takes bromide regularly.

" Some two years ago an assistant master at was suffering

from phthisis. He got into the hands of the Christian Scientists,
who placed him in London with one of their persuasion in a sort
of home, where they prayed over him until he died, without hav-
ing any medical attention."

41. (From a schoolmaster.) "Here, and personally, I have
only come into contact with so-called Christian Science in iso-
lated and curious cases : of which the oddest is that of a Chris-
tian Science mother, who told her boy at school that of course
he could do no wrong, but that miscreant masters would at times
punish him, and he must regard that as merely a freak of igno-
rance on their part. (It did not prevent his having to suffer punish-
ment.) Another, whose son was ill — I think it was pleurisy —
said she could see nothing wrong with him, but, when pressed
to allow medical advice, shrugged her shoulders, and said, 'Well,
it is for him to decide, if he thinks he is ill*; and, fortunately, he
did decide on medical assistance.

"I found rabid against Christian Science. She is a Guar-
dian on the Union. She quoted these cases: — (i) A con-
sumptive boy, dying in the Infirmary, was in the last stages, and
all that could be done for him was done. To him enter the local
Christian Science lady, who insisted that he wasn't ill, but only
wicked, and frightened him so much, by her denunciation of the
sinfulness of belief in ill-health, that he had a bad fit of cough-
ing, haemorrhage, great pain, and died within a day or two. (2) A
local lady had a French maid suffering from dementia; but,


being Christian Scientist, refused to have her examined, saying
there was no madness. The cook, frightened by some act, ap-
pealed to the poHce, and had her then removed to the Infirmary;
where she was certified insane, and discharged after a week to
her relations in France. The Christian Science people refused
to assist or pay expenses for her, saying she had left their service
voluntarily. (3) Thirdly, she quoted an exact parallel to the
case that you quote: ulcer on the stomach, and solid food given
by a Christian Scientist."

42. (From an American doctor.) "In response to your in-
quiry concerning the results of Christian Science treatment, will
say that I have had several cases illustrating what a wretched
business the whole thing is. I will give you but one. I was
called in this city to see a young mother with three children, the
oldest not more than eight years of age. The moment I entered
the sick chamber, it was apparent to me that the woman was
desperately ill, and I naturally inquired if they had not had a
medical attendant. Almost too full for words, the husband re-
plied, *No, Doctor, she has been treated by Christian Science.*
An examination revealed a diffuse peritonitis, originating from
infection of the tubes. I told them that it was probably too late
for an operation, but that her only hope of recovery lay in that
direction. They earnestly requested me to operate, which I did
after telling them very plainly that, in all probability, she would
die, and if so, I wanted them to know that her life had been sacri-
ficed on the altar of a terrible fraud. I operated. The woman
died. A post-mortem examination revealed the fact that her
trouble originated in an infected tube, which might and would
have been removed without danger had she consulted an intelli-
gent practitioner. Wishing you every success in your endeavour
to curtail the dreadful harm that is being done by this fraud."

43. (From an American doctor.) "Mrs. — — of this city,
about 36 years old, a strong, robust woman, had a slight mitral
insufficiency which at times would give her some trouble after


severe exercise, showing a lack of compensation ; but a few days'
rest and the use of digitalis would give relief, and for months she
would seemingly be as well as ever. She became a convert to
Christian Science, and later had one of her attacks, and went to
the home of a 'healer,' near her house, for treatment. She was
not put at rest, was encouraged to take exercise, and became
rapidly worse : at which time some of her friends interfered and
asked me to see her, which I did at the 'healer's' home. I found
her walking about her room with the assistance of two of the
elect, being markedly cyanotic and almost pulseless, yet I was
assured she was improving rapidly; her husband was some dis-
tance from home, and had not been notified of her illness, and
when I assured the people she was dying, and could not possibly
live until her husband had been communicated with, I was made
the subject of ridicule. She died within a few hours.*

"A young man, recently married, whose mother was a 'healer,*
was taken sick, and, diphtheria being suspected, a physician
was called to make a diagnosis, so that the quarantine-law might
be complied with. His services were then dispensed with, and
the use of antitoxin was denied. The mother assumed charge of
the case; and death resulted in a few days.

"Some months later his wife was confined; and, without any
assistance, she suffered the agonies of childbirth for about four
days; when I was called, found a face presenting, and delivered
her of a dead baby in a few minutes.

"Doctor, I have a long list of such cases, but will not give
more, knowing you will be almost swamped by the reports you

44. (From the Boston Med. and Surg. Journal.) "A woman
in labour was under the treatment of the mind-cure, or Christian
Science, without other physician. The child was expelled by

* Mitral insufficiency = disease of one of the valves of the heart.
Cyanotic = of a dusky or bluish tint.


the natural efforts, but there nature stopped. The patient was
prayed over, and urged to concentrate her will on the womb,
and to determine to be well, and she would be. Meanwhile
the womb relaxed, the sinuses opened, flooding occurred, and
the woman died, without medical aid. A man with pneumonia
was under the care of a Christian Scientist. Here the will was
called on by the reputed healer, and the patient told to will to
be well, and all would be well. The sick man was directed to
make an effort to get up and walk. He struggled to do so; but
he walked to his death, for he never regained his bed alive."

45. "The following case came to my attention a few days
ago, as a personal communication from Dr. . He was con-
sulted by a man who had for nearly a year been treated by Chris-
tian Science for deafness without any improvement. Dr.

examined the ear, removed a pledget of cotton and some wax,
and the hearing was promptly restored."

46. "A man of 33, going from bad to worse through drink,
was,* through the influence of his mother, put under Christian
Science treatment. After a week or two there, she was told he
was getting on well, and that her son was soon to be a 'healer,'
and he was reading to a blind man every day with a view to re-
storing his sight. A few days after this he escaped from the
home, and was found wandering in London, in a hopeless state
of intoxication, and revolvers in his pocket, and was escorted
back to a private nursing home in Manchester. P.S. — The
only good that came from this is that his mother is no longer a
Christian Scientist. Whether her intelligence was appealed to,
or her pocket mostly, by this experience, I leave you to judge."

47. "A young married woman, 25, five months' pregnant,
was taken with pain in the left side, and was told by a Christian
Scientist that it was * mental.' Finally, a physician was called in,
who found positive evidence of pus in the left kidney. Operation
showed acute primary pyelo-nephritis. The patient made a good


(The American physician who told me of this case told me
also that his mother, suffering from cancer of the breast, had
been placed under Christian Science treatment, and had died
of the disease; and that the relations who had thus treated her
were now as vehemently opposed to Christian Science as then
they had upheld Christian Science. He also said, "You would
laugh, if you could see how many of these Scientists come to my
office, after nightfall, by the side door, and ask me not to tell."*)

48. (From an American doctor.) "I am sending you the
following two cases where the patients were treated by Christian
Science, and were worse, and died after the treatment; and the
third case, one of * miraculous conception.' The first was a
man in middle life, who had a mild attack of nephritis, and was
told by a Christian Science healer to eat and drink as he pleased,
and to go ahead with his business, for *he only thought he was
sick.' He soon developed uraemic convulsions, and died.

"The second was a man with a small epithelioma of tongue,
who was told by a Christian Scientist that it didn't amount to
anything, and that their treatment would- soon make it disappear.
He died of its ravages while receiving treatment from them.

"The third case which came to my knowledge was one of con-
ception, and the delivery of a child at term, in a Christian Scien-
tist, who declared she conceived by thought, as taught in their
creed, and that no man entered into the case." f

* Miss Carta Sturge, who has for many years made a profound
study, at first hand, of Christian Science, and has written a most
wise criticism of its doctrines, said, lately, that "there were dis-
illusioned Christian Scientists, who were not only ashamed, but
also afraid to confess that they had been deceived, because the
very powerful organisation of the Scientists knew how to make
it very unpleasant for them." — Yorkshire Daily Post, May 21, 1908.

f There is a reference to this case, or to another of the same
kind, in Mr. Podmore's very valuable article, " The Pedigree of
Christian Science," Contemporary Review, January 1909.


49. **A lady had been for many years an inmate of a lunatic
asylum; and her sister, having become a Christian Scientist,
insisted upon taking her out and submitting her to Christian
Science treatment, confidently predicting that complete recovery
would take place. The patient was placed in a cottage in the
country, with two Christian Science nurses, and was visited regu-
larly by a Christian Science expert — formerly, I believe, a medi-
cal practitioner. What he did for his money I do not know;
but I was told that he remained with the patient for an hour at
each visit, and gazed at her intently. I saw the patient, after
this sort of thing had gone on for four years; and she was un-
changed, as mad as ever."

50. " I may mention a case which I know by report. A lady
was lying ill at her home, suffering from a severe attack of acute
pleurisy. A Christian Scientist called, and, although told that
the patient was dangerously ill, forced her way up to her bed-
room. She stood at the bottom of the bed and said, *I have
come to tell you that there is nothing the matter with those old
bellows of yours ! You only think so. Stop that cough and
hard breathing, and you will be better at once.* *Take that
woman away,' gasped out the patient; 'take her away* — and
the nurse insisted on her leaving. The patient had a bad and
disturbed night, and the disease ran its usual course."

51. "We have a couple of Scientists here. One wanted to
tackle a case of secondary carcinoma of the lungs ! I was much
amused when she sent her maid to me for removal of an adenoma
of the breast. I suggested that surely her mistress could cure
her without the use of a knife; but she replied that as I had seen
the case she would have no influence on the disease. Pretty tall

52. "The only professed Christian Scientist that I know of
or can hear of here is obviously eccentric, and is known to have
been in an asylum; so her advocacy of any cause is likely to do
it more harm than good. ... I believe one of their arguments


is that drugs only act because they are expected to have certain
effects. If this is so, how do they explain the effect of drugs on
infants and animals, and, in the case of some drugs, on an excised
frog's heart?"

53. (The following letter, from a poor girl, is sent to me by
a lady who helped the girl after Christian Science had done with
her. "It is," the lady says, "a pretty true statement of the case:

Mrs. dropped her like a hot potato." The case was one of

tubercular caries of the spine) : —

"To begin with, I am paralised and curvature of the spine,
and have been told I am incurable by every doctor who has seen

me. The Christian Science treatment I had from Mrs. was

that I must stop eating all flesh meat, only taking two light meals
a day, mid-day and evening, drink a quart of cold water a day,
stop taking all medicine, and to think I was quite well, and I
should be well. My name was sent to London (I think that is
the place), where I was prayed for every week by the Faith Heal-
ing Society, and Mrs. used to come and rub me twice every

day for a long time and then once a day. She put me to swing
on a gymnasium ring to straighten my spine, which has gone in.
Then I was put on crutches to help get the use of my legs, my
landlady held me up, but I was in agony; but the more it hurt
me, the more good it was doing me, I was told. With this treat-
ment I got much worse, the pain in my spine and my hip (which
has droped) and my legs was made worse than before all this,

and when I said I was worse Mrs. said I did not wish to

get better, I am too happy as I am, and I had no faith, and so
did not help the treatment. And when I refused it all you know
the result."

54. "A patient of mine, with a large aortic aneurysm, told me
he wished to try Christian Science treatment. He was promised
a cure by the Christian Science operator. Under seven weeks*
exclusive Christian Science treatment he grew worse, and the pain
increased, so that he sent for me again. He died some weeks later.


"My partner was sent for to see a young lady (a member of a
leading Christian Science family) who had had fever and in-
somnia for several nights, which Christian Science treatment
failed to remedy. She was at once relieved by proper treatment
by drugs. This family have sent for him to diagnose cases on
several occasions; the call generally coming after dark.

"Another Christian Science lady, who had been wearing an
instrument for some time before my partner first saw her, was
glad enough to get his services to replace it. He only discovered
a few days later that the lady was a Christian Scientist.

"A faith-healer refused to have a doctor to see a girl in her
convalescent home, who was very ill (with typhoid, as it turned
out). She was given ordinary sort of food, got perforation, and

55. "I do know of one individual whose life was certainly
made apparently happier, as regards himself — and much more
of a nuisance to his friends and immediate relatives — for some
years after embracing Christian Science, during a visit to the
States. I have just learned that he is believed to be dying —
* of worry, chiefly' — and I suspect that this may be connected
with the enlarged and tender gall-bladder for the relief of which
he refused operation, when he was in England, before going to

56. "A lady, aged about 55, with an ovarian tumour. She
left her physicians, and went into the hands of the Christian
Scientists. Their treatment impressed her much: for, several
times, the mass seemed to disappear after it. Her health, how-
ever, declined; and her daughter was very anxious that I should

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Online LibraryStephen PagetThe faith and works of Christian science → online text (page 12 of 16)