Return to Home page of MBESIAbout The Mary Baker Eddy Science InstituteRead Mary Baker Eddy's Books Online!Read Christian Science Books Online!Read Christian Science Books Online!Browse the Books In Print Section of our siteRead Christian Science Articles onlineEl Instituto de Ciencia Mary Baker Eddy

Chapter II –Mary Baker Eddy's Three Deeds of Trust and The Estoppel Clauses

Click here to download to your computer or print

Ignorance, subtlety, or false charity does not forever conceal error

(S&H. 447:12)

For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 8:11)

A NUMBER of documents will be discussed as we produce our cause and bring forth our strong reasons" why Mrs. Eddy's Manual should be obeyed as written. Among these documents are Mrs. Eddy's Will and two codicils, as well as her Deed of Trust of September 1, 1892, and her Deed of Trust of March 19, 1903 which concern the land for the two church edifices. These documents contain information vital to the Christian Science Movement, starting with Mrs. Eddy's passing on December 3, 1910, up to the present time.

Another vital document is the Deed of Trust of the Christian Science Publishing Society, dated January 25, 1898, which Mrs. Eddy established as an entirely separate and independent operation, with a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. It was this Deed of Trust that became the center of conflict between the Board of Directors and the Publishing Society Trustees. The Board was obsessed with taking over the media of the church--the Christian Science Publishing Society. The Board's attempts to dictate to the Trustees of the Publishing Society became intolerable and led to a lawsuit in 1919, when on March 25th, 1919, the Publishing Trustees filed a Bill in Equity against the Christian Science Board of Directors. The presiding Judge granted the Publishing Trustees an interim injunction which called for the Board of Directors to cease and desist from harassing the Publishing Trustees.

The Board of Directors then instituted suit against the Trustees of the Publishing Society. This was the "second Bill in Equity," dated April 10, 1920. These two Bills in Equity culminated in "The Full Bench Decision" of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, November 23, 1921. These three documents will be discussed in the following two chapters.

We will also review the Congressional Copyright Relief Act of 1971 which resulted in the copyright on all 420 editions of Science and Health being taken out of the name of Mary Baker Eddy and vested in the Christian Science Board of Directors. This tightened the Board's control of Science and Health, making the earlier editions almost impossible to obtain, and the current edition increasingly difficult to purchase. It is now for sale only in Christian Science Reading Rooms, operated by branch churches, and as these branch churches close, one by one, the Reading Rooms also close.



In the past the documents just mentioned and the events surrounding them have been discussed only generally. We will investigate details that were decisive, and point out the errors committed during the past seventy years that have contributed to the decline of the Christian Science Movement.

To understand Mrs. Eddy's three Deeds of Trust it is necessary to delve briefly into her first and second church organizations. We will see that by her two land Deeds she sanctioned the continuance of the local church in Boston. This is in sharp contrast to the estoppels she placed in the Manual which brought all central control to a halt when she was no longer present. Mrs. Eddy's legal documents containing provisions for a self-perpetuating four-member Board of Directors for the local Boston church, and a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees for her Publishing Society Deed of Trust, determined what was to continue after her passing.

A perusal of her March 19,1903, Deed of Trust shows the land was granted on the condition that the estoppel clauses in the Church Manual would be honored. It reads:

This property is conveyed on the further trusts that no new Tenet or By-Law shall be adopted, nor any Tenet or By-Law amended or annulled...

The first church organization was formed by Mrs. Eddy and a few students in 1879. Its title was: "Church of Christ, Scientist." This first church organization existed until 1889. It was a completely democratic operation. It exercised no autocratic control over other Christian Science churches. The other churches of Christ, Scientist, operated on their own with no interference from Mrs. Eddy's first Boston church.

By the late 1880's Mrs. Eddy had concluded she could do the greatest good to the greatest number by giving her time to a complete revision of Science and Health. When she was no longer able to give the church the great amount of time and attention it obviously needed, the church deteriorated rapidly. Mrs. Eddy saw it was time to go forward in spiritual organization alone. Thus, on December 2, 1889, the church Board met and adopted unanimously the following resolution which dissolved the first little "Mother Church":

(1) That the time has come when this Church should free itself from the thraldom of man-made laws, and rise into spiritual latitudes where the law of love is the only bond of union.

4) The members of this Church hereby declare that this action is taken in order to realize more perfectly the purpose of its institution as an organization, namely, growth in spiritual life and the spread of the "glad tidings"--and that they will continue in a Voluntary Association of Christians knowing no law but the law of Love, and no Master but Christ in the exercise of all the ministrations and activities heretofore performed as a Church of Christ, Scientist....

Mrs. Eddy had reached, beyond cavil, the conviction that the distractions of material organization and ceremony and personal ambition are what keep people from seeing what Christian Science is really presenting. Her whole purpose was to design a Church--a spiritual organization--that would aid man to understand God and his relationship to God. Material organization was the antithesis of all Mrs. Eddy hoped and worked to establish.

Knowing there were many who still felt the need of a church to worship in, Mrs. Eddy gave land on which to build a church edifice for those who felt the need of a place to worship. In spite of the great prosperity that followed the dissolution of this first organization, it was not long before Mrs. Eddy's students importuned her to form another organization. People usually dislike being different, of course, but for Christian Scientists to have clung so tenaciously to churchgoing seems anomalous since Mrs. Eddy discouraged church attendance by her advanced students. She wanted them to realize more fully that God is omnipresent and not found only in church services.

Preserved in the Alice Orgain Library is the following instruction from Mrs. Eddy to her household on church attendance.

The thought of the advanced student should be turned away from too much church attendance. It is not to limit but to broaden their viewpoint--to free their thought from a sense that God is to be found only in church services. To be sure, attending church is a step in the student's progress, but if his concept of church stagnates at that point, and his demonstration of church does not gradually broaden to cover everything, then spiritual growth ceases, even with the most punctilious church attendance.

Mrs. Eddy knew that a Science doesn't need a church. It needs only the willingness to study and learn, and thus grow in spiritual understanding. Jesus did not organize a church, and to the woman of Samaria who insisted she must go to the temple to worship, he said, "The hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." The Pharisees insisted people should worship in a temple and be governed by certain laws. If the people accepted Jesus teaching, there would be no annual dues or tithes to support the temple and pay the salaries of those who ran it.

Like Jesus, Mrs. Eddy, from the very beginning, saw that "material organization wars with Love's spiritual compact" and in 1889 she irreversibly reached the conclusion that church organization should be "laid off ... in order to gain spiritual freedom and supremacy." In no other way can the "Church Universal and Triumphant" (Manual p. 19) be reached.

In Mary Baker Eddy, Her Spiritual Precepts, Mr. Carpenter states that Mrs. Eddy had a right to refer to members who had not cast out the old idea of church, as "infants in Christian Science. " Infants, she maintained, were those who thought of church as an edifice where men go to worship a human sense of God, rather than a state of consciousness that demonstrates a scientific sense of Good. The true sense of Church makes a bridge over which mortals may pass to the infinite, so that mortality is swallowed up in Life.

Today a deeper sense of what Church really is and means is emerging and making itself felt on all levels of society. In great numbers Christian Scientists are freeing themselves from the centralized control of an ecclesiastical hierarchy. They are seeing Church as "the structure of Truth and Love," as a state of consciousness that each individual can continually abide in and so find heaven right where he is. When this is spiritually comprehended it will be seen why Mrs. Eddy, through her estoppel clauses, terminated the five-member ecclesiastical Board of Directors and The Mother Church.


In 1892 Mrs. Eddy executed a Deed of Trust granting land for a church edifice. It is crucial that this Deed of Trust, and the second Deed of Trust of 1903, conveying land for an Extension to the first edifice, not be confused with the second organization.

The Deed of Trust of 1892 merely granted land on which a church edifice was to be built. The Deed contained eleven provisions, such as:

* The four grantees were to be known as the Christian Science Board of Directors; the Deed names the four Directors.

* These four Directors were to be a self-perpetuating body

* Within five years they were to build a suitable and convenient church edifice, elect a pastor, maintain public worship in accordance with the doctrines of Christian Science, etc.

* The congregation worshipping in the edifice was to be called The First Church of Christ, Scientist.

* Whenever the Directors determined it was inexpedient to maintain public worship in this building, the lot of land and the building were to be reconveyed to Mary Baker G. Eddy, her heirs, etc., by a proper deed of conveyance. The church could be dissolved at any time.

* The Deed was perpetual and irrevocable.

* This Deed (1892) says nothing about an organization or about a "Mother Church"; it says nothing about becoming "members" of anything; it simply says that the people who worship in that edifice-the people who walk in the door and sit in the edifice, namely the "congregation,' shall be known as "The First Church of Christ, Scientist."



The duties of the four-member Board under the 1892 Deed were very limited. This Deed was Mrs. Eddy's vehicle for providing the residents of Boston with an edifice in which to hold church services. The four Directors could continue to provide church services as long as there was any need for them; they did not require Mrs. Eddy's consent, approval, presence, or her signature in her own handwriting to carry on indefinitely. This was in sharp contrast to the second church organization, which in 1892, at the insistent urging of her students, Mrs. Eddy permitted to be formed, against her better judgment. Mrs. Eddy kept this second church organization entirely under her control through means of her Church Manual. Its operation depended on the availability of her consent, approval, presence, or her signature in her own handwriting. The Board of Directors of this second church organization (eventually to become five (5) in number) was not a self-perpetuating body as was the Board under the Deed of Trust of 1892. The second organization was first called "Mother's Church, " and eventually it became known as The Mother Church. It is absolutely essential to understand the difference between The Mother Church and what was formed by the Deed of Trust of 1892 which established a Board of four Directors to maintain a place of worship for the convenience of the people in Boston, for as long a time as that Board deemed necessary. The same four men constituting the Board under the Deed of Trust of 1892 became the Board of Directors of the second church organization. Eventually a fifth member was added. Thus they became a five-member Board, an ecclesiastical Board, wearing quite a different hat from the four-member Board-a legal Board under the 1892 Deed of Trust.

We saw earlier Mrs. Eddy vigorously opposed and sharply warned of the dangers inherent in organizing a second time, but she was also aware of the lack of wisdom in trying to force higher views on students before the founding work had been done in human consciousness. Divine Mind and thought (idea) comprise the whole of God expressed in the universe and man, but an understanding of this great fact cannot be legislated. She knew that "whatever needs to be done which cannot be done now, God prepares the way for doing." Perhaps she saw these early followers must learn the evils of continued organization through sad experience, so she helped them, and in the ensuing eighteen years it was to throw a tremendous burden on her.

At the start, this second organization had just a few rules. The first Church Manual appeared in 1895, three years after the forming of the second church organization. It was a democratic document. Every officer of the church and every function of the church could operate under the Board of Directors without any reference to Mrs. Eddy. (The only procedure requiring her approval was the election of a Reader in The Mother Church. The Board of Directors, however, could remove the Reader.) But with the passing years Mrs. Eddy assumed supreme control.

Subsequent to this first Manual, Mrs. Eddy issued eighty-seven additional Manuals as the occasion required them. Each Manual contained changes. The 89th Manual, currently in use, was not published by Mrs. Eddy. It was hurriedly published immediately after her passing; it deleted the name of Mary Baker Eddy, Pastor Emeritus, as an officer in the church, and her name and office remained out of the Manual for fifteen years, until in 1925 pressure from the Field forced its restoration.

Among other changes, the Board of Directors, in order to extend their Manual --prohibited control over the branch churches, changed Mrs. Eddy's wording on page 120 of the Manual to read: "Present Order of Services in The Mother Church and Branch Churches" instead of merely: "Present Order of Services in The Mother Church." They also added the words: "and Branch Churches" on page 127, to Mrs. Eddy's wording: "Order of Exercises for the Sunday School of the Mother Church." In their haste to make these changes they neglected to change the wording in the Table of Contents which still continued to read: "Present order of Services in The Mother Church," and "Order of Exercises for the Sunday School of The Mother Church." Mrs. Eddy kept the branch churches separate from The Mother Church since the estoppels would terminate The Mother Church at her passing.

Mrs. Eddy never placed the Cross and Crown insignia on the Church Manual. This first appeared in 1916.

These bold and illegal appropriations of authority by the Directors had far-reaching disastrous consequences for the Christian Science Movement, initiating a policy entirely contrary to her "Declaration of Independence," in Science and Health, and her "Magna Charta" in Miscellany. In the eighty-eight editions of the Manual issued by Mrs. Eddy, one of her primary objectives was to protect the branches and individual Christian Scientists from any type of ecclesiastical control, as well as to "maintain the dignity and defense of our Cause." Through the Manual's estoppel clauses Mrs. Eddy drew an ever tighter rein on her five-member Board of Directors and gradually established complete control over them.


Mrs. Eddy executed the Publishing Society Deed of Trust on January 25,1898. It established three people as Trustees of the Christian Science Publishing Society. It was a legal document, perpetual and irrevocable, with the three Trustees to fill vacancies on their own initiative without reference to Mrs. Eddy or anyone else. Mrs. Eddy's Deed granted the Publishing Trustees all necessary powers to carry on the publishing business after she was no longer present and The Mother Church had been dissolved by the estoppels.

Gaining control of the means of communication was very important to the five-member ecclesiastical Board of Directors as they sought to extend their authority over both the branch churches and the individual church members. Soon after Mrs. Eddy's passing the Board endeavored to seize control of the Publishing Society by harassing the Trustees. The Board demanded that the Trustees acknowledge in writing the Board's authority over them as the price the Trustees must pay to continue in office. For details of this harassment, see Appendix, March 25, 1919, Bill in Equity The following three rules in Mrs. Eddy's own handwriting, and sent by special messenger to the three Trustees of the newly formed Publishing Society, leave little doubt that Mrs. Eddy foresaw the ambitious designs of the Directors to secure control of the communications arm of the Movement:

1. When mother foils a demon scheme, do not mar her success. The hardest battle is the last one.

2. Never act on first thoughts unless they be of Good, God, but watch and separate the tares from the wheat. Learn by experience and careful comparison to know whence cometh your conclusions. "Try the spirits" before acting, look over the purposes that the enemy might be trying to accomplish and so avoid the snare.

3. Have the bird in your hand before disturbing the bush he hangs on.

There is also further evidence that Mrs. Eddy knew what her Board of Directors and others in high places were planning to do when she was no longer here. Her letters to the Board show Mrs. Eddy's desperate attempts to win them over to seeing that humility and patience gather blessings lost to the vainly aspiring. In the Dr Baker Notes is a statement by Mrs. Eddy which reads: 'All the trouble I have is with my students." Laura Sargent, a faithful worker in Mrs. Eddy's home, told Adelaide Still that on Mrs. Eddy's last carriage ride, two days before she left us, Mrs. Eddy was silent, lost in deep thought, then almost as though talking to herself, said, "Oh, if only the students had done what I told them, I should have lived and carried the Cause." Five or six days before this, Mrs. Eddy had dictated and signed a note which read: "It took a combination of sinners that was fast to harm me."





(Many years ago when this signed statement was first widely circulated a Christian Science lecturer, who had known some of the early workers and those close to Mrs. Eddy, was asked privately, "What do you think she meant?" Without hesitation he answered, "Why, she knew those whom she trusted-those running the Movement--were planning to betray her. She knew they had sought legal advice on how to break the estoppel clauses. When the full import of the certainty of this betrayal broke upon her, it seemingly had the ability to harm her."

The men who were running the Movement were good men, but their materiality clogged their vision. They had fallen so in love with the material organization and all its trappings that they simply could not bring themselves to destroy it. The nature of their predicament is symbolized in the book, Bridge Over the River Kwai, depicting a World War II captured British colonel and his battalion forced by the Japanese to build a strategic bridge essential to the Japanese war effort. The colonel was at first reluctant. But as he got into solving the difficult construction problems, the bridge became his idol. He fell so in love with the bridge, that when a group of British commandos infiltrated with intent to destroy the bridge, the colonel resisted to the point of killing his own countrymen rather than seeing the bridge destroyed.

In a similar way, the Board of Directors could not bring themselves to destroy "their" great material organization when the estoppels went into operation. No doubt they rationalized that due to her advancing age, etc., Mrs. Eddy had made a terrible mistake in not removing the estoppels so that the material organization could continue legitimately. They forgot Mrs. Eddy had trenchantly warned them in 1892 that if they organized again it would ruin the prosperity of the church.

Mrs. Eddy's ideas of church government differed radically even from those of her students in high places, and of course from mankind generally, causing great antagonism from almost every quarter. Mrs. Eddy's Church was established entirely by divine direction. In order to be perpetuated it must necessarily follow divine inspiration and not be the product of legal enactments or worldly-wise evolutions.

Regarding the By-Laws and her estoppels she said: "I have no right or desire to change what God has directed me to do, and it remains for the church to obey it" (preserved by Carpenter Foundation; also preserved in Adam Dickey's Memoirs).

When Mrs. Eddy asked Adam Dickey to write a history of what had transpired while he had lived in her home, she extracted a promise from him to tell the students, if she should ever leave here, that she had been "mentally murdered." Mrs. Eddy wanted to shock the students into an awareness of the power of wrong thinking to harm, to kill. Mental murder results from believing the evidence of the physical senses. The students were seeing Mrs. Eddy as aging and dying, and were concerned with how the Manual's estoppels would affect their positions when she was no longer present to fulfill the By-Law requirements. They were not supporting her by seeing her as the perfect reflection of ageless, endless, eternal Life. Mrs. Eddy was endeavoring to shock her students into seeing that this whole mortal picture is merely hypnotic suggestion with no more reality than the dream we have in sleep. Mental murder results from accepting the illusions presented by the physical senses as realities, when all the while "all is infinite Mind infinitely manifested." There is no reality in the testimony of the five physical senses.

Mrs. Eddy was well aware that some of her most trusted students, occupying the highest positions, were not supporting her spiritually, but were actually waiting for her to die, readying their affairs to take over at the moment of her death. This she considered "mental murder."

Calvin Frye, Mrs. Eddy's faithful secretary from 1882 until her death in December, 1910, made a most revealing entry in his Diary under date of December 7,1900:

Judge Clarkson dined with Mrs. Eddy today and after dinner tried to convince her again that she was mistaken and the cause was going to ruin and the men were essential to take the lead of the cause of Christian Science and to assert their rights without her dictation .15a"

While many men in the ranks of Christian Science were faithful to Mrs. Eddy's teaching, others were ready to resist to the hilt the new idea of WOMAN which Mrs. Eddy's teaching was ushering in (with Christian Science) as she step by step fulfilled Jesus' prophecy to St. John concerning the woman of the Apocalypse. Jeremiah too had prophesied:

The Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man. (Jeremiah 31:22)

This "new thing"--WOMAN--this new order of the ages, was "the stone which the builders [had always] rejected." It was the gift of Love, the spiritual understanding revealed in Mary Baker Eddy's writings. It was the capstone that would crown the manhood of God with womanhood and reveal the man of God's creating- generic man.

But in their total materiality, this "new thing, " WOMAN, was viewed by certain men in the church organization as a threat to the age-old belief of male supremacy. Thus they again "rejected the stone which the builders [had always] rejected, " namely, the supremacy of Love, and equality of the sexes, resulting from the Christian Science teaching that each individual reflects all the qualities of the Father-Mother God. The Board in power at that time opted to keep alive material organization which wars with Love's [WOMAN'S] spiritual compact" Since 1910 the Board of Directors has made no attempt to defend Mrs. Eddy against the subtle insinuations of "mental incompetency for not having removed the estoppel clauses." Earlier we saw their attempt to rid themselves of her supervision when they omitted her name and office from the new Manual they hastily published after her departure.

In a letter to Augusta Stetson dated December 11, 1898, Mrs. Eddy first wrote that her trials were not confined to one person or one thing as their source, but "take in all earthly things and mortals." Then she speaks of the "antagonism" she is met with by all, in a certain sense. (Italics are in the original. The transcript is given below, followed by the original.):


I am alone, absolutely, here! No one can know me, really, or can see what I have to meet, or meet it for me.

All are far from seeing or understanding what I am at work all the time, and in every direction, to destroy; and so I am met by all in a certain sense, with antagonism. [Does this not parallel Jesus' words when he spoke of the antagonism with which he was met? "The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." (John 7:7)]

It is the errors that my students do not see, neither in themselves or in others, that I am constantly confronting and at war with. If they and the world did see these errors, which I see, they would take up arms against them and I could lay down mine.

But, to open the eyes of the blind from paralyzed optic nerve, is nothing, compared with opening them to see the tendencies of their own human natures, even at the very best. Which tendencies must be subdued to become a true Christian Scientist.

Thine own,

M.B.G. Eddy.





We return now to the Publishing Society Trustees. They were not only under oath, but equally under Mrs. Eddy's express admonition to follow the Deed of Trust. Thus when the Trust's provisions, as interpreted by its sworn executors, the Trustees, were challenged, and the Directors ordered the Publishing Trustees to break Mary Baker Eddy's Deed of Trust, the Publishing Trustees felt there was no road open to them other than the Court. In the following Chapters we will learn of the great mistake the counsel for the Trustees made when they inadvertently sued the wrong party and what occurred in the wake of this tragic error--error to human mortal sense.

Lastly we will discuss the Full Bench decision in this historic case. Most Christian Scientists will be surprised to learn what the Full Bench of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts actually said, and how it was grossly misinterpreted to the Field.

But before we go into the five-member ecclesiastical Board's struggle for power and authority, we will take a look at the estoppel clauses God led Mrs. Eddy to place in her Church Manual to prevent the grasp of legalism and ecclesiastical power.

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in the Full Bench Decision of November 23rd, 1921, recognized and admitted that the Church Manual by its terms could not be changed after Mrs. Eddy's passing. The Chief Justice cited Article XXXV, Section 1, as binding, namely: "This Manual shall not be revised without the written consent of its author."

The Chief Justice further stated that under the principles of interpretation, the same words used elsewhere in the same instrument [meaning throughout the Manual] must have the same meaning. The Court thus recognized the validity of all the estoppel clauses.

Continuing this train of thought, we are led back to the second Deed of Trust shown on pages 136-138 of the Manual, where at the top of page 136 we read:

This property is conveyed on the further trusts that no new Tenet or By-Law shall be adopted, nor any Tenet or By-Law amended or annulled by the grantees unless the written consent of said Mary Baker G. Eddy, the author of the textbook "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures", be given therefor, or unless at the written request of Mrs. Eddy the Executive Members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, (formerly called the "First Members") by a two-thirds vote of all their number, decide so to do.

It is important to understand that this additional trust in the Deed of March 19th, 1903 (covering the Extension), bound the fiduciary Board of Directors to act in a certain way: the land was granted on the condition that there would be no annulling of the By-Laws. This made the Manual a part of the legal Deed of Trust. The ecclesiastical Board under the Church Manual and the polity of the Church was also prohibited from changing the Manual.

Because the estoppels appear to be the essence of the Manual, and in view of the Court's assessment of their importance, we will review these estoppel clauses after examining the Articles and Sections in which these estoppel clauses occur which require Mrs. Eddy's presence, approval, consent, or signature in her own handwriting:

Church Officers

Article I

Sect. 1. Church Officers-----Presence

2. President-----Approval

3. Clerk, Treasurer, etc.-----Written Consent

4. Readers-----Presence

5. Directors-----Approval

8. Trusteeships and Syndicates-----Approval

9. Replacing Directors-----Presence

Article II

Sect. 3. Removal of Reader-----Consent


Article XIII

Sect. 3. Clerk Calling Special Meetings-----Consent

Reading Rooms

Article XXI

Sect. 2. Librarian and Staff-----Approval

Relation and Duties of Members to Pastor Emeritus

Article XXII

Sect. 3. Filling vacancies for disobedience-----Approval

Sect. 8. Private Communications of Pastor Emeritus not to be made public without-----Written Consent

Guardianship of Church Funds

Article XXIV

Sect. 4. Finance Committee-----Consent

7. Giving Donations Written-----Consent

Important Movements of Manager of Committees on Publication-----Approval

9. Committee on Business-----Written Consent

Christian Science Publishing Society

Article XXV

Sect. 3. Vacancies in Trusteeship-----Approval

4. Editors and Manager-----Written Consent

8. Books to be Published-----Written Consent

Board of Education

Article XXVIII

Sect. 1. Officers Auspices

2. Vice President and Teacher-----Approval

4. Vacancy of President-----Signature & Approval

Article XXX

Sect. 3. Board of Education's Certificates To Teach-----Personal Signature

Board of Lectureship

Article XXXI

Sect. 1. Election of Lecturers-----Approval

Committee on Publication

Article XXXIII

Sect. 1. Appointment of Manager of Committees on Publication-----Written Consent

Sect. 6. Appointment of Assistant Manager-----Approval

Church Building

Article XXXIV

Sect. 3. Demolition or Removal of 1894 Mother Church Building-----Written Consent

Church Manual

Article XXXV

Sect. 1. Revision of Manual-----Written Consent

3. Amendment or Annulment of By-laws-----Written Consent

These estoppels are the very heart of the Church Manual. Let us now see what each estoppel clause actually says. Turning to page 25 of the Church Manual we read under Article I, Section 2:

The President shall be elected, subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus,…"

On page 26, Article 1, Section 3, concerning the Clerk and the Treasurer, we read:

Incumbents who have served one year or more, may be reelected, or new officers elected, at the annual meeting held for this purpose, by a unanimous vote of the Christian Science Board of Directors and the consent of the Pastor Emeritus given in her own handwriting.

On this same page we come to Article 1, Section 4:

Every third year Readers shall be elected in The Mother Church by the Board of Directors, which shall inform the Pastor Emeritus of the names of its candidates before they are elected; and if she objects, said candidates shall not be chosen.

Further, on page 26, we come to Article 1, Section 5: This concerns an election to fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors of The Mother Church. We read:

They shall fill a vacancy occurring on that Board after the candidate is approved by the Pastor Emeritus.

Next we go to the bottom of page 27, Trusteeships and Syndicates, Article 1, Section 8:

Boards of Trustees and Syndicates may be formed by The Mother Church, subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus.

Now we go to page 30, Article II, Section 3:

If a Reader in The Mother Church be found at any time inadequate or unworthy, he or she shall be removed from office by a majority vote of the Board of Directors and the consent of the Pastor Emeritus....

We now go to page 57, Article XIII, Section 3. This refers to calling a special meeting of The Mother Church:

The Clerk must have the consent of this Board and of the Pastor Emeritus before he can call said meeting

We go to page 63, Article XXI, Section 2, concerning the Librarian:

The individuals who take charge of the Reading Rooms of The Mother Church shall be elected by The Christian Science Board of Directors, subject to the approval of Mary Baker Eddy.

On page 65, Article XXII, Section 3, in reference to obedience required to a written order from Mary Baker Eddy: disobedience is cause for removal. If removal of an officer is required, we read:

The vacancy shall be supplied by a majority vote of the Christian Science Board of Directors, and the candidate shall be subject to the approval of Mary Baker Eddy.

The By-Law just quoted applies to officers of The Mother Church, Editors of the Christian Science Journal, Sentinel, Der Herald, Committees on Publication, Trustees of the Christian Science Publishing Society, and the Board of Education.

The next estoppel clause occurs on page 67, Article XXII, Section 8:

A strictly private communication from the Pastor Emeritus to a member of her Church shall not be made public without her written consent.

Her prohibition of "unauthorized legal action" on page 67, Article XXII, Section 9, reads:

A member of this Church shall not employ an attorney, nor take legal action on a case not provided for in its By-Laws-if said case relates to the person or to the property of Mary Baker Eddy-without having personally conferred with her on said subject.

Our next estoppel clause occurs on page 70 of Article XXII, Section 18, concerning "Pastor Emeritus to be consulted":

The Mother Church shall not make a church By-Law, nor enter into a business transaction with a Christian Scientist in the employ of Reverend Mary Baker Eddy, without first consulting her on said subject and adhering strictly to her advice thereon.

In this connection, it is important to also refer to pages 104 and 105 of the Manual, Article XXXV, sections 1 and 3, and to the Deed of Trust of March 19,1903 (see Manual p. 137:1-11).

Now we go to page 71, Article XXIII, Section 4:

Branch churches shall not write the Tenets of The Mother Church in their church books, except they give the name of their author and her permission to publish them as Tenets of The Mother Church, copyrighted in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

Next we go to page 76, Article XXIV, Section 4, concerning the Finance Committee:

There shall be a Committee on Finance, which shall consist of three members of this Church in good standing. Its members shall be appointed annually by the Christian Science Board of Directors with the consent of the Pastor Emeritus.

Article XXIV, Section 7 on "Debt and Duty" (page 78) states:

Donations from this Church shall not be made without the written consent of the Pastor Emeritus.

Also important movements of the manager of the Committee on Publication shall be sanctioned by the Board of Directors and the approval of Mary Baker Eddy.

In the estoppel concerning the Committee on Business, page 79, Article XXIV, Section 9, we read:

Before being eligible for office the names of the persons nominated for said office shall be presented to Mrs. Eddy for her written approval.

We come next to "Vacancies in Trusteeship'" on page 80, Article XXV, Section 3, which reads:

Whenever a vacancy shall occur, the Pastor Emeritus reserves the right to fill the same by appointment; but if she does not elect to exercise this right, the remaining trustees shall fill the vacancy, subject to her approval.

Concerning "Editors and Manager" we go to page 81, Article XXV, Section 4:

The term of office for the editors and the manager of The Christian Science Publishing Society is one year each, dating from the time of election to the office. Incumbents who have served one year or more can be reelected, by a unanimous vote of the Christian Science Board of Directors, and the consent of the Pastor Emeritus given in her own handwriting. [It is important to remember that when the estoppel clauses dissolved The Mother Church, the Board of Directors here mentioned were also dissolved and no longer had any connections with the Christian Science Publishing Society. (Art. 1, See. 5)]

On page 81, Article XXV, Section 5, reads:

A person who is not accepted by the Pastor Emeritus and the Christian Science Board of Directors as suitable, shall in no manner be connected with publishing her books....

On page 82, still on Article XXV, we now go to Section 8, regarding the "Books to be Published":

A book or an article of which Mrs. Eddy is the author shall not be published nor republished without her knowledge or written consent.

Concerning the "Board of Education" and the teacher on the Board, we go to page 88 of the Manual, Article XXVIII, Section 1, which reads:

Beginning with 1907, the teacher shall be elected every third year by said Board, and the candidate shall be subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus.

On page 89, we come to the estoppel concerning the "Presidency of College", Article XXVIII, Section 4:

Should the President resign over her own signature or vacate her office of President of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, a meeting of the Christian Science Board of Directors shall immediately be called, and the vice-president of the Board of Education being found worthy, on receiving her approval shall be elected to fill the vacancy.

Going to page 93, Article XXXI, Section 1, we come to the estoppel covering the "Board of Lectureship":

This Church shall maintain a Board of Lectureship, the members of which shall be elected annually on Monday preceding the Annual Meeting, subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus.

On page 94, Article XXXI, Section 5, we have an estoppel concerning a "Circuit Lecturer":

Upon the written request of Mrs. Eddy, The Mother Church shall appoint a Circuit Lecturer ... [to] lecture in the United States, in Canada, in Great Britain and Ireland. [His term of office was to be for not less than three years.]

Now we go to page 97, Article XXXIII, Section 1, which deals with the "Committee on Publication" of The Mother Church:

He shall be elected annually by a unanimous vote of the Christian Science Board of Directors and the consent of the Pastor Emeritus given in her own handwriting.

On page 101, Article XXXIII, Section 6, we come to a "Case of Necessity," concerning an "assistant" Committee on Publication:

If at any time the Christian Science Board of Directors shall determine that the manager of the general Committee on Publication needs an assistant, the Board shall, with the approval of the Pastor Emeritus, appoint an assistant manager.

On page 103, Article XXXIV, Section 3, concerns "The Mother Church Building":

The edifice erected in 1894 for The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., shall neither be demolished, nor removed from the site where it was built, without the written consent of the Pastor Emeritus, Mary Baker Eddy. [Note: When the estoppel clauses operate and dissolve The Mother Church no conflict will exist between this By-Law and the provision in the Deed of Trust of Sept. 1, 1892 providing for the removal of the building under certain conditions.]

We come now to an estoppel which precludes revision of the Church Manual, page 104, Article XXXV, Section 1, entitled: "For The Mother Church Only":

The Church Manual of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass., written by Mary Baker Eddy and copyrighted, is adapted to The Mother Church only. It stands alone, uniquely adapted to form the budding thought and hedge it about with divine Love. This Manual shall not be revised without the written consent of its author.

[This was the point quoted by the Chief Justice in his opinion in the Decision of November 23,1921.]

Now we go to page 105, Article XXXV Section 3:

No new Tenet or By-Law shall be adopted, nor any Tenet or By-Law amended or annulled, without the written consent of Mary Baker Eddy, the author of our textbook, Science and Health.

This completes the list of estoppels in the Church Manual that dissolve The Mother Church and terminate all ecclesiastical control. The foregoing estoppel clauses indicate how Mrs. Eddy gradually drew all activities of The Mother Church under the jurisdiction of the five-member ecclesiastical Board of Directors. This made it a simple matter to terminate all central control, through the estoppels, when she was no longer personally present to hold a tight rein. By requiring her approval in one form or another the whole operation would come to a halt when such approval could not be obtained.

The transfer of Mrs. Eddy's authority to someone else was nowhere stated, nor has it come to light since her departure. The Trustees under the Will of Mary Baker Eddy only have the power of handling the residual estate under her Will and two codicils. Nothing in her Will indicates that the Board of Directors was to assume her place or position.

The purpose of the estoppels is plain, and if we are to be true to Mary Baker Eddy then we must honor them and abide by them. Ignoring the estoppel clauses is a de facto "annulment" of the By-Laws and is a violation of Article XXXV, Section 3, of these By-Laws.

It is crucial to understand that The Mother Church and The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston are two separate entities. The Mother Church and its five Directors are governed by the By-Laws found between pages 25 and 105 in the Church Manual, whereas The First Church of Christ, Scientist, with its four-member Board of Directors, is established and governed by the Deed of Trust found on page 128 of the Manual, which shows The First Church of Christ, Scientist, to be a local church. This can be learned from reading the conditions in the Deed of Trust.


Since the reader may still be undecided as to the control of these estoppel clauses, it might be well to refer to the Full Bench of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and the opinions set forth in the decision dated November 23rd, 1921. Early in this decision by the Supreme Judicial Court we find the following:

The last several editions [of the Manual] issued during the life of Mrs. Eddy contained provisions that "this Manual shall not be revised without the written consent of the author." Since the Church Manual on its face purports to be the work of Mrs. Eddy as author, and the Master has found it to be proved that substantially all of its provisions were suggested or proposed by her, it is apparent that there can now, since the decease of Mrs. Eddy, be no change in the provisions of the Church Manual, in accordance with its terms.

The Court thus recognizes that the estoppel so stated in the By-Laws is effective and thus the Manual cannot be changed without her approval.

You may ask whether this recognition of the Court applies to the estoppel clauses operating elsewhere in the By-Laws. Yes, it does. In the third paragraph following the above quotation, the Court says:

Every instrument in writing, although it cannot be varied or controlled by extrinsic evidence, must be interpreted with a view to all the material circumstances of the parties at the time of its execution in the light of the pertinent facts within the knowledge of those who signed it, and in such manner as to give effect to the main end designed to be accomplished by the instrument.

Subsequently the Court made the following observation:

It is a well-recognized principle of interpretation that the same words used in different places in the same instrument commonly have the same meaning and effect, unless another meaning is demanded by the context.

The Court's opinion is that the estoppel requiring Mrs. Eddy's approval for revising the Manual and its By-Laws is effective and controlling. Therefore, by the principles of interpretation set forth by the Court, this would mean that the estoppels control wherever they occur. If the estoppels are ignored, they are thereby annulled, and this is a direct violation of the Church Manual. The Court's recognition that the estoppels were a controlling factor makes it obvious that the ecclesiastical movement--The Mother Church and all its activities--came to a halt with Mrs. Eddy's demise.


Why didn't Mrs. Eddy publish her intention that The Mother Church cease when she was no longer here? A point often argued by attorneys is that Mrs. Eddy could have made her intentions clear through appropriate messages in the Manual or in the periodicals. But can anyone arbitrarily legislate religious liberty for everyone? Jesus couldn't, (nor could Moses). Those familiar with the Scriptures will recall that Jesus wanted to free humanity (John 8:32), but they sought the more to kill him (John 5:18); for whom [God] hath sent, ye believe not (John 5:38); many of his disciples murmured, "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" They were offended (John 6:60,61). Jesus knew from the beginning who were they that believed not and who should betray him (John 6:64). From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him (John 6:66). "He deceiveth the people" (John 7:12). Then they reviled him (John 9:28), and took up stones to cast at him (John 8:59). Later they crucified him--all because they did not understand that he had been sent by God to set them free.

Mrs. Eddy's experience paralleled the experience of Jesus.

Through hard experience she learned that freedom is something each must choose for himself. The estoppels, if obeyed, dissolve The Mother Church and all central control; they set the Christian Scientist free. Mrs. Eddy's way was always to leave the movement as far as possible to do things by demonstration. She knew that if she gave definite instructions regarding her intentions, the Movement would have followed them blindly like a flock of sheep, but of what spiritual value would that have been? Instead of giving specific instructions about dissolving The Mother Church, she left Christian Scientists to work out the question proportionately as they overcame fear and their sense of limitation which resisted progressive abandonment of organization. Obedience to the estoppel clauses must come through spiritual growth; obedience when the heart is not ready is of little value. The great need, Mrs. Eddy saw, was:

Learn to obey; but learn first what obedience is, When God speaks to you through one of His little ones, and you obey the mandate but retain the desire to follow your own inclinations, that is not obedience. I sometimes advise students not to do certain things which I know it were best not to do, and they comply with my counsel; but watching them, I discern that this obedience is contrary to their inclination. Then I sometimes withdraw that advice and say: "You may do it if you desire' " But I say this not because it is the best thing to do, but because the student is not willing, therefore not ready--to obey.

Mrs. Eddy saw danger and lack of wisdom in trying to force higher views on people before the human consciousness was prepared for a higher step through proper founding work. She also knew that suffering is often the divine agent through which students learn Truth. It is a well established fact that Mrs. Eddy made it perfectly clear to the Board of Directors that the estoppels were to remain in the Manual and terminate all central control when she was no longer personally present. The Board had on several occasions attempted to persuade her to remove the estoppels or write a clause transferring her authority to them. It is also well established that the Board consulted legal firms during Mrs. Eddy's last years about this issue. That Mrs. Eddy was not much impressed with legal interpretations, but was primarily concerned with obedience to her Manual By-Laws as written is evident from her letter to the Christian Science Board of Directors. Facsimile of her handwritten reply is preserved in Lyman P. Powell's book Mary Baker Eddy in which after lightly tossing aside their legal presentations, saying that she was not a lawyer and didn't sufficiently comprehend the legal trend of the copy they sent her, to make any comment, she informed them that she did feel confident to advise them never to abandon the By-Laws. She told them that if she is not personally with them the Word of God and her instructions in the By-Laws and there can be no doubt that by this she was especially directing their attention to the estoppel clauses--would remain to guide them safely on.

Then she speaks of the teachings of St. Paul being as useful today as when they were first written. Paul speaks much of being in bondage only to Christ.

She speaks of obedience to the By-Laws being essential to the future prosperity of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. None but herself, she says, can know as she knows, the great importance of the combined sentiment of the Church remaining steadfast in supporting its present By-Laws. She indicates the By-Laws will continue to master and forestall any contingency that may arise.

In a postscript she asks the Directors to "put this letter upon our church records."

In this letter she has specifically appealed to them to heed the By-Laws. She didn't say she wanted the Directors to give the Field their interpretation of her By-Laws. She wanted them obeyed as written.

When Mrs. Eddy spoke of the "future" prosperity of the church, she was, of course, speaking of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and not of The Mother Church, since The Mother Church, according to the estoppel clauses, would cease to exist after the June, 1911, Annual Meeting, following her passing, as no officer of The Mother Church could be elected without her consent.


In forty different points, the Manual clearly shows that the Directors are not Mrs. Eddy's successor. Mrs. Eddy issued eighty-eight Manuals to protect her church from the evils inherent in a hierarchy or any form of autocracy. "Church" in Christian Science is not an organization, it is the "structure of Truth and Love." Mrs. Eddy definitely has a successor. She named this successor in Miscellany, when the Herald reporter asked her bluntly, unequivocally, "Will there be a hierarchy, or will it be directed by a single earthly ruler?" In clarification of her much misunderstood reply that her successor would be "a man," Mrs. Eddy's explanation given to the Associated Press, May 16, 1901, stated in part:

What remains to lead on the centuries and reveal my successor is man in the image and likeness of the Father-Mother God, man the generic term for mankind."

But so wedded is the human mind to a material sense of government (27a) that many Christian Scientists have not accepted the liberty with which Mrs. Eddy endowed them through her estoppel clauses in the Church Manual and her declaration of independence in "The Magna Charta of Christian Science" wherein and whereby man governed by his creator is self-governed.

In a letter to the Field, George Lincoln Putnam, C.S., of San Francisco, California, stated:

Forty times [Mrs. Eddy] has named the Directors in connection with the most vital and essential functions of government, then cautiously worded the By-Law so as to render them incapable of performing those functions legally, or morally, without the sanction of a higher power within the Church. Forty times she has thus defined the powers that do NOT belong to the Directors under the general authority to them to "transact business" (Art. I, See. 6). For over eight years before her passing, Art. 1, Section 6, read as it now reads: "The business of The Mother Church shall be transacted by its Christian Science Board of Directors." Take your Manual and underscore ... the forty vital functions the Directors could not perform under Art. 1, Sec. 6 or any other By-Law during her lifetime.

Practitioner Putnam's research into the Manuals revealed that prior to February, 1901, and the issuance of the twentieth Manual, Mrs. Eddy had made only seven (7) positive checks, meaning places in the Manual where she had definitely named or indicated the Directors in connection with a specific act, and then so worded the By-Law as to render them absolutely powerless to legally perform that act without the sanction of the Pastor Emeritus.

Year after year, however, she increased the number and scope of these positive checks upon the Directors. As she watched these Directors and comprehended their limitations, she step by step hedged them in, restricted their power, curtailed the range of their independent action, until in 1910 there were forty positive checks on the Directors. And she left them all in the Manual "for eternity," so that when the time came for her departure the Directors would be powerless to carry on in their own independent right as a hierarchy.

She once wrote, "Rules are necessary, and I made a code of by-laws, but each one was the fruit of experience and the result of prayer. Entrusting their enforcement to others, I found at one time that they had five churches under discipline. I intervened. Dissensions are dangerous in an infant church. I wrote to each church in tenderness, in exhortation, and in rebuke, and so brought all back to union and love again. "

Putnam further stated that in 1903 Mrs. Eddy was led to make profound and fundamental changes in the form of The Mother Church government after she had carefully watched the Directors in their new capacity for two years and had observed how they "transacted the business of The Mother Church." These two years enabled her to become fully conscious of the Board's limitations. "These radical changes first appeared in the twenty-ninth edition of the Manual and were adopted July 30, 1903.

The Directors were so reluctant to publish and give this Manual to the Field that Mrs. Eddy had to write and give them "direct orders to bring out [her] Manual and not to delay one more day!" She insisted she knew the Manual was right. She told them she had been divinely directed to have it published as she had written it; they had adopted the By-Laws; now they were to delay no longer in putting those By-Laws into book form. (Mrs. Eddy's letter to the Board is preserved in the Alice Orgain Library, and in Putnam's 1922 Letter to the Field.)

What were the great changes in the twenty-ninth edition that made this Manual such a bitter pill to some of the Directors?

(1) She forbade the Directors to make new by-laws, or to amend [her God-impelled] By-Laws. (Art. XXXV, and Deed of Trust, page 136.)

(2) She compelled the Directors, Clerk, Treasurer, and Committees to report to the members at "The annual church meeting."

(3) She placed the supreme power in The Mother Church in the hands of the members, by giving them in Art. I, Sec. 9, the final power of removal over the entire Board of Directors, giving them this power co-equally with the Pastor Emeritus.

"During Mrs. Eddy's lifetime, " says Putnam, "it was plainly her purpose that the Directors of The Mother Church should be responsible, or accountable, to the members. [At her departure the estoppel clauses dissolved The Mother Church and the five-member ecclesiastical Board.]

"Having waived the estoppel clauses, the their correspondence with the Trustees between October, 1918, and February, 1919 [magisterially] maintain that because the Manual gave to the Directors the power to remove the Trustees from office, it thereby automatically--and without need of further verbiage--gave the Directors certain other vast and compelling powers, namely,

"(a) The power of interpreting the Manual in order to ascertain whether or not the [Publishing] Trustees had violated the [Manual's] provisions.

"(b) The power to dictate all important matters of policy.

"(c) That none of these powers belonged to the [Publishing] Trustees under the general head of the "transaction of business." [But the fact here was the Publishing Deed Mrs. Eddy granted the Publishing Trustees was a legal irrevocable Deed entirely complete in itself. It didn't require Mrs. Eddy's consent or anyone else's to operate. Any connection it had with The Mother Church was dissolved by the estoppels in the Church Manual l.]

Along with these forty (40) positive checks on the powers of the Directors, and before this By-Law (Art. I, See. 9) was framed, Mrs. Eddy was given elsewhere in the Manual all the power she needed to enable her to cause the removal of any and all officers of the church. Art. 1, Sec. 9, was added for the express purpose of endowing the members with this final power, that they might possess it when she would no longer be here in case her estoppel clauses were waived and annulled. This By-Law, says Putnam, was framed in 1903, the year in which she executed her final Will. She was setting her house in order for the change that came December 3, 1910.

The demand for the assent of "The Pastor Emeritus" before a Board's act could be legally or morally completed was worded in several ways, but the effect was always the same; it left no loop--hole for the Directors alone to act. In Art. 1, Sec. 9, she gives to the members--the beneficiaries--in the person of "[any] member of this Church or the Pastor Emeritus" the same final power she had reserved to herself, making them co-equal in power at this supreme point: the power of removal over the entire Board of Directors. Here is the provision in the Manual whereby the mantle of the Pastor Emeritus descends upon the members. Here also is a clear coincidence between the Magna Charta of Christian Science, by Mary Baker Eddy, and the Manual by Mary Baker Eddy.

It must also be remembered that when The Mother Church was dissolved by action of the estoppel clauses in June of 1911, there were no longer any "members of The Mother Church. " Only the local Boston church, governed by the Deed of Trust of 1892, continued to exist as The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. This is the way it would have been had Mary Baker Eddy's divinely impelled estoppels in the Church Manual not been waived.

When practitioner Putnam wrote the Board of Directors about these forty positive checks on their authority and the estoppel clauses in the Manual, and asked searching, intelligent questions, he states that the Board imperiously replied:

Your letter indicates that fundamentally you are not right in your thought about the Church government and our Leader's plan and purpose for the extending of the Christian Science Movement. Until your thought as to these important points is right any discussion with you on the questions raised in your letter would be futile.

The key to the situation lies in the first and last By-Laws. The last By-Law provides that the Manual shall not be altered. The first By-Law provides that the officers shall consist of the Pastor Emeritus, a Board of Directors, etc. Since Mrs. Eddy's passing, the attempt has been made to carry on The Mother Church without its chief officer, Mary Baker Eddy, to whom the By-Laws give the supervision over all its other officers. Mary Baker Eddy, the Pastor Emeritus, is an officer who cannot be replaced. This makes it clear that the world-wide organization--The Mother Church--ceased on Mrs. Eddy's departure. From then on Christian Scientists were left to demonstrate their membership in the true Church, governed solely by divine Principle.

On the other hand, Mrs. Eddy established the Christian Science Publishing Society to continue indefinitely under its own "perpetual and irrevocable Deed!" As long as Mrs. Eddy was alive and the Directors had the privilege of electing editors and the general manager, subject to her consent, the Publishing Society was the Publishing Society of The Mother Church, and the periodicals published by it were the organs of The Mother Church. After Mrs. Eddy's passing and the dissolution of The Mother Church due to the Manual's estoppels, the periodicals could scarcely any longer be described as organs of The Mother Church. The Publishing Society would then have to ensure that the periodicals were excellent, or at least so good that Christian Scientists and others would want to subscribe for them.

The Publishing Society was apparently to be the only official" "teaching" institution when Mrs. Eddy was no longer here, to approve teachers, and to sign the teaching certificates issued . Mrs. Eddy carefully arranged for the cessation of all "teaching" under the official sanction of headquarters, except by the Publishing Society, which would, of course, be subject to the criticism of all Christian Scientists. An example of this criticism descended in 1922, shortly after the Directors wrested the Publishing Society from the Trustees and published an editorial in the Monitor, which the Field thought of as spiritualistic teaching, and poured an avalanche of criticism on the editors.

Regarding teaching, Mrs. Eddy said, "My published works are teachers and healers, and "you can well afford to give me up since you have in my last revised edition of Science and Health your teacher and guide." Mrs. Eddy implied that all Christian Science practitioners should teach when she wrote that "the practitioner ... should teach his students to defend themselves from all evil and heal the sick by recognizing the supremacy and allness of good." The best teacher is described by Mrs. Eddy as "the student who heals by teaching and teaches by healing, [this student] will graduate under divine honors, which are the only appropriate seals for Christian Science.

No further "official" lecturers would be appointed since the required approval of the Pastor Emeritus was no longer obtainable (Art. XXXI, Sec. 1), and the existing official lecturers would have terminated their duties at the end of the year for which they were appointed.

After the departure of Mrs. Eddy the editors and the manager of the Christian Science Publishing Society (Art. 1, Sec. 3) could not be elected by the five-member Board of Directors since their office had been terminated by the estoppel clauses in the Manual, and the four-member Board of Directors, under the 1892 Deed of Trust had never had any connection with the Publishing Society. The editors and manager of the Publishing Society would therefore be appointed by the Publishing Trustees under paragraph 6 of the Publishing Society Deed of Trust. Had the Manual's estoppel clauses been obeyed, the Board of Directors would have been the Board of the local Boston church only, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in accordance with their 1892 Deed of Trust which clearly spelled out the limits of their authority. The Director who died in 1912 would not have been replaced, leaving a legitimate Board of four under the 1892 Deed. Actually, a 5th Director was illegal after June, 1911.

Regarding "discipline," the Manual, Article XI, Sec. 13, states: "Each church shall separately and independently discipline its own members--if this sad necessity occurs."

In summary, the question each individual Christian Scientist must decide for himself is:

Do I follow what Mrs. Eddy wrote in her Church Manual, or do I follow the Board of Directors' interpretation of what Mary Baker Eddy wrote?

What was the dominant intent and purpose of our Leader as set forth in her Manual? Was it not to insure eternal freedom in consonance with her "Declaration of Independence" and her "Magna Charta"?

The estoppels confirm and bear eloquent testimony to Mrs. Eddy's statements: "Christian Science is not copyrighted." "Truth cannot be stereotyped; it unfoldeth forever." Official Boston's attempts to freeze Christian Science at the level of understanding the Field had attained by 1910, is a denial of the dictionary's definition of "science, " as that which "includes trustworthy methods for the discovery of new truth within its own domain" (Oxford dictionary). When Mrs. Eddy's Science is understood in its pure Science and in its structural relationships, we will understand the trustworthy method for discovery, because a discovery is simply the bringing to light of new relationships, which have always existed but have not previously been perceived. This is why Mrs. Eddy could state that Christian Science is neither copyrighted nor stereotyped, but that it unfolds forever.

Frozen dogma, ritual, and creed should have been forever melted away by the fire of love that came down from divine Principle to dictate the Manual's estoppel clauses which freed each Christian Scientist to teach, preach, read, speak, or write as God inspired him, undeterred by lack of "official" approval. For the past seventy years the waiving and annulling of Mrs. Eddy's estoppels has held the Christian Science Movement in the grasp of legalism and ecclesiastical power and it is to the exposure and correction of this legalism and ecclesiasticism that we now turn.

« Back | Next »


Mary Baker Eddy's Church Manual & Church Universal and Triumphant

Introduction | Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch.5



©2012 The Mary Baker Eddy Science Institute – All rights reserved.
The Mary Baker Eddy Science Institute is a 50l(C)(3) non-profit tax-exempt organization.