Exposure is necessary to ensure the avoidance of
evil. (S&H. 571:4)
Covering iniquity will prevent prosperity and the
ultimate triumph of any cause (S&H. 446:30)
Resisting evil, you overcome it. (S&H.
OUR church must "be rescued from the grasp of legal
power and now it must be put back into the arms of if we would not be found
fighting against God"--Mary Baker Eddy
This chapter will discuss the nature of the permanency
or impermanency of The Mother Church, and will further consider the Church
Manual of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts,
and how the Boston hierarchy's legal interpretation of the Church Manual
declaring the material organization to be permanent--has all but destroyed
the great prosperity the Christian Science Movement enjoyed at the beginning of
There had always been those who felt Mrs. Eddy's
Manual should be obeyed as written--that the estoppels should be obeyed
as written. After the "great literature litigation" of 1919-1922 an
increasing number of Christian Scientists raised the question of obedience to
the estoppels. These continuing expostulations from the Field resulted in the
publication of a series of tracts by the Boston authorities, stressing the
"permanency of The Mother Church and its Manual ."
These pamphlets--especially a pamphlet entitled,
The Permanency of The Mother Church and Its Manual, for sale in
Christian Science Reading Rooms, raised questions in members' minds: If Mary
Baker Eddy formed a church and intended it to continue forever, why is
it necessary to print pamphlets presenting opinions and interpretations from
legal groups to justify its continued existence? On the other hand if
Mrs. Eddy did not intend the church organization to continue forever,
why is there such a concerted effort by the Boston church authorities to
continue the organization through legal means in the face of Mrs. Eddy's
Mrs. Eddy found that when she could no longer devote
most of her time to the church organization it quickly deteriorated. This
convinced her that it was time to go forward in spiritual organization alone,
and that she must spend the next few years in revising the textbook to make it
the teacher of the future. In 1889 she therefore asked her students to
disorganize. And while the second organization was not yet even contemplated we
already see in the following statement, though faintly delineated, the certain
coming of the estoppels:
When students have fulfilled all the good ends of
organization, and are convinced that by leaving the material forms thereof a
higher spiritual unity is won, then is the time to follow the example of the
Alma Mater. Material organization is requisite in the beginning; but when it
has done its work, the purely Christly method of teaching and preaching must be
Here is clear evidence that Mary Baker Eddy did not
intend the material church organization to continue forever. In dissolving The
Mother Church through her estoppel clauses she was again setting an example as
she had previously done in dissolving the first organization in 1889, at which
time she urged them on to spiritual organization alone, saying: "I am
still with you on the field of battle, taking forward marches, broader and
higher views, and with the hope that you will follow."
Further testimony indicating Mrs. Eddy's fundamental
distrust of continued material organization is found in the following:
The apprehension of what has been, and must be, the
final outcome of material organization, which wars with Love's spiritual
compact, caused me to dread the unprecedented popularity of my College ..."
Despite the prosperity of my church, it was learned
that material organization has its value and peril, and that organization is
requisite only in the earliest period in Christian history. After this material
form of cohesion and fellowship has accomplished its end, continued
organization retards spiritual growth, and should be laid off--even as the
corporeal organization deemed requisite in the first stages of mortal existence
is finally laid off, in order to gain spiritual freedom and supremacy.
That Mrs. Eddy hoped her students would follow her
example there is ample evidence. But, as Jesus, Moses, and other great
spiritual leaders found, she could not legislate or force spiritual freedom on
In Permanency of The Mother Church, Judge Smith
From the time she founded The Mother Church, all that
she did and said evinced the intention that it should be permanent.
The continued policy of the Board of Directors of The
Mother Church, since 1910, to lean on, promote, and emphasize material
organization in their reach for power and authority, has all been done despite
the estoppel clauses in the Manual which definitely unfrocked the
five-member ecclesiastical Board at the June, 1911, Annual Meeting when these
church officers could not be reelected without the consent and approval of the
Pastor Emeritus, Mary Baker Eddy.
FIRST CHURCH ORGANIZATION--
The first organization (1879-1889) existed with only
slight central control from Boston. Mrs. Eddy sent out teachers and
practitioners to various parts of the Field to found churches, to teach
students, and to bring a healing activity to the local communities. The Boston
church was under a civil charter just as the churches elsewhere were under
civil charter. There was no central organization since its officers were
concerned only with the Boston church.
SECOND CHURCH ORGANIZATION--
The first Manual appeared in 1895, three years
after the second organization was formed, and it left most functions of the
church administration to the then four members of the Board of Directors,
although their duties were not specifically mentioned in the Manual
until several years later.
In the second Manual, also issued in 1895, Mrs.
Eddy began a gradual process of delegating duties to the Board of Directors,
but making their actions always subject to her approval in one form or another.
Legally this is what is called "to stop," and in legal instruments an estoppel
clause means a clause which stops, prevents, or bars an action.
After Mrs. Eddy's departure the Boston rulers of the
Movement challenged the legality of the Manual's estoppel clauses,
maintaining that since it was impossible to obtain her approval in those
numerous instances in the Church Manual where such approval was
mandatory, the estoppels should be waived. Thus the Board of Directors fell
back on human law, for guidance, in which an impossible condition is rejected.
But the Church Manual is ecclesiastical and hence not subject to
interpretation by civil law criteria as the Chief Justice pointed out in the
"great literature litigation. "
In a previous chapter we saw that within a month after
Mrs. Eddy's passing the Board of Directors issued their own Manual, the
89th, currently in use, from which they deleted Mrs. Eddy's name and office as
Pastor Emeritus.But Mary Baker Eddy, Pastor Emeritus, is an officer who cannot
be replaced and the attempt to carry on The Mother Church without its chief
officer, Mary Baker Eddy, to whom the By-Laws give the supervision over all the
other officers, should never have been made.
In Article XXXV, Sections I and 3 (pp. 104 and 105) of
the Church Manual, Mrs. Eddy wrote:
Article XXXV, Section 1: This Manual shall not
be revised without the written consent of its author [Mary Baker Eddy].
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.
In Article XXXV Section 3, Mrs. Eddy says that the
By-Laws shall not be "annulled" without her written consent. Yet this is what
the Board has done since our Leader's passing, through legally challenging the
estoppels in the Manual. The words remain--no amendment or revision has
been made to remove the estoppels--but the estoppels are quietly ignored
to insure the permanency of The Mother Church and its officers, the
five-member ecclesiastical Board which usurped power at Mrs. Eddy's
According to Parliamentary law one of the oldest
methods of amending is to "strike out" certain phrases or clauses or portions
of a document. It is self-evident that the waiving or disregarding of the
Manual estoppels was, in effect, none other than the well-known
Parliamentary law method of amending by "striking out!
At this point it is important to remember that the
legal Deed of Trust of March 19, 1903, conveyed the land for the Extension "on
the further trust 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 ... be given therefor." Her incorporation of
this "estoppel" in her legal document absolutely bound the Board of
Directors to obey all the estoppels in the Church Manual.
The eighth Manual formalized the ecclesiastical
Board of Directors, establishing that it could not fill vacancies on its
own responsibility, and thus we see that two Boards of Directors have
been established: one fiduciary" and self perpetuating; the other
ecclesiastical and not self perpetuating. Additional changes deprived
the Board of electing Readers. The Board could now only nominate Readers
for The Mother Church and Mrs. Eddy had to approve them. Similarly, candidates
for "First Members" had to be approved by Mrs. Eddy and then elected by a
unanimous vote of First Members whereas, under previous By-Law provisions, this
could all have been done by the Board of Directors. This curtailing and
chipping away at the authority of the Directors, by Mrs. Eddy, was all done to
prevent an ecclesiastical hierarchy from developing at her departure, and to
keep her church from again falling into "the grasp of legal power."
In the tenth Manual, issued in 1899, the Board
was mentioned for the first time-four years after the first Manual, and
seven years after the ecclesiastical church was formed. (This was the
four-member Board wearing ecclesiastical hats, as it were.)
In this Manual Mrs. Eddy's approval was
required for the election of a President, by the Board. (See current Manual
p. 25:5, Article 1, Section 2.)
In the twelfth Manual a new By-Law stated it
was the duty of the church to see that the periodicals were ably edited
and managed, but in a later Manual this was changed to read that it was
the duty of the Board of Directors to see that the periodicals were ably
edited and managed. We can see how Mrs. Eddy was simplifying her plan to
terminate The Mother Church at her passing, because an estoppel clause would
preclude the reelection of the five-member ecclesiastical Board.
In the summer of 1908, after the Church By-Laws had
practically reached their present state of completeness, and all of the
discipline and executive management of the church had passed into the hands of
the Board of Directors, Mrs. Eddy repealed the By-Law providing for "Executive
Members (formerly known as "First Members"). This left the Board of
Directors--subject to Mrs. Eddy's supervision and control--in full charge of
the business of The Mother Church. This was the situation the Directors
found themselves in at the time of Mrs. Eddy's passing, December 3, 1910. The
only thing that then stood in the way of dissolving the material organization
and all centralized control was the willingness of the Directors to obey
the Church Manual containing estoppel clauses.
When the Board of Directors returned the church to
"the grasp of legal power" Mrs. Eddy's plan was temporarily defeated;
nevertheless "it is only a question of time when God shall reveal His rod, and
show the plan of battle."
The eighteenth Manual was issued in 1900. In
this Manual the Librarian of The Mother Church was to be elected by the
Board of Directors subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus. The
Librarian had previously been elected by the Trustees of the Publishing
Society, so the change was necessary because had the Librarian been under the
control of the Publishing Society when The Mother Church was dissolved, it
would have worked against the Deed of Trust of the Publishing Society.
In the twentieth Manual, issued in 1901, the
business affairs of the Church were shifted from the First Members to the Board
of Directors. Mrs. Eddy foresaw that the First Members would shortly be
disbanded and that the business affairs of the church would have to rest with
the Board of Directors so that the whole operation, as we just saw, could be
dissolved by authority of the estoppels when she passed on.
THE TWENTY-EIGHTH MANUAL
In the twenty-eighth Manual, issued in February
of 1903, an important change was made; the number of Directors (ecclesiastical)
was changed from four members to five members. The Deed of Trust of
September 1, 1892, was irrevocable and had four Directors, so this
change in the Manual had nothing to do with the number of Directors
under that Deed. Further, the Deed of Trust of March 19th, 1903,
covering land for the Extension, which Mrs. Eddy executed a month later,
again named four Directors, and so confirmed the four Directors in the
Deed of September 1, 1892. This makes it clear that Mrs. Eddy had two Boards,
one ecclesiastical and temporary, under the Manual, to be terminated
when she was no longer present to consent and approve. The other Board was a
self-perpetuating Board, affirmed and reaffirmed after the Manual
change to five Directors. Archibald McClellan took office as the
fifth Director in February of 1903.
Thus we see that the four Directors in the irrevocable
Deed of Trust remained four in number regardless of the change in the
ecclesiastical Board of Directors governed by the Church Manual.
THE TWENTY-NINTH MANUAL
In the twenty-ninth Manual, issued in 1903, the
Board was authorized to see that the officers of the church faithfully
performed their duties.
In the twelfth Manual "the church" had been entrusted
with the obligation to see that the periodicals were ably edited and managed.
In the twenty-ninth Manual this is changed, and the Board of Directors is
charged with this responsibility. When The Mother Church and its officers were
dissolved by the estoppels, this obligation was the sole responsibility of the
Publishing Society Trustees under their Deed of Trust.
This is the Manual that George Lincoln Putnam
referred to as "such a bitter pill for the Directors" because it forbade the
Directors to make new by-laws; compelled the Directors, Clerk, Treasurer, and
Committees to report to the members at the annual church meeting; and placed
the supreme power in The Mother Church in the hands of the members. A
two-thirds vote of the Executive Members (who had succeeded the First Members
by a By-Law change in this same twenty-ninth Manual) with the consent of
the Pastor Emeritus, could now remove all of the Board of Directors-- meaning
of course the five-member ecclesiastical Board. Therefore, both the Finance
Committee and the Executive Members had the opportunity to remove the
five-member ecclesiastical Board which operated under the Church
It is of interest to note in connection with the legal
church under the Deed of Trust of September 1, 1892, and the ecclesiastical
church under the Manual, that the present Article XXIII, Section 1, titled
"Local Self-government," originally read: "The First Church of Christ,
Scientist, in Boston, Mass." This was now changed to read: "The Mother Church
of Christ, Scientist ..." as in our present Manual. This accomplished two
things, says Dr. Shawk in his recorded talks on the Church Manual: it
removed the fiduciary church, under the legal Deed of Trust, from the
ecclesiastical Manual, and at the same time placed a ban on The Mother Church's
interference with the branches in any way. We see again how carefully Mrs. Eddy
planned to prevent her church falling prey to legalism's challenge.
The impermanency of The Mother Church and its
auxiliary activities is most apparent in the two legal Deeds of Trust Mrs. Eddy
placed in the Church Manual, and which we will take up next.
FIRST AND SECOND DEED OF
In the Church Manual, pp. 128-135, there is a
legal Deed of Trust dated September 1, 1892, naming four Directors: Ira
O. Knapp, William B. Johnson, Joseph S. Eastaman, and Stephen A. Chase, "and to
their legitimate successors in office forever."
The Deed provides, among other things, that "said
grantees shall be known as the 'Christian Science Board of Directors,'" and
shall constitute a perpetual body or corporation.
Paragraph six says that "the congregation which
shall worship in said church shall be styled 'The First Church of Christ,
Paragraph ten states: "Whenever said Directors shall
determine that it is inexpedient to maintain preaching, reading, or speaking in
said church in accordance with this deed, they are authorized and required to
reconvey forthwith said lot of land with the buildings thereon to Mary Baker G.
Eddy, her heirs and assigns forever by a proper deed of conveyance . "
The second document, dated March 19, 1903 (see
Manual p. 136) is a Deed of Trust conveying land for a church
edifice. Early in the Deed we find the following statement: "that the land
conveyed by said deed was conveyed to the grantees therein, as they are the
Christian Science Board of Directors, upon the trusts, but not subject to the
conditions mentioned in the deed creating said Board [Ira 0. Knapp, William B.
Johnson, Stephen A. Chase and Joseph Armstrong who had replaced Eastaman during
those eleven years] given by Mary Baker G. Eddy to Ira 0. Knapp and others,
dated September 1, 1892. ... In addition to the trusts contained in said
deed of September 1, 1892, from Mary Baker G. Eddy, 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...."
We can see that in the first of the two deeds:
(1) The Board of Directors was formed, and provision
made for its continuity as long as required.
(2) The edifice was authorized and its use outlined.
(3) The CONGREGATION to worship in the (little) Mother
Church was named "The First Church of Christ, Scientist." (It is the little,
original church, at first called 'Mother's church" that is referred to here.)
(4) The deed is irrevocable and perpetual.
(5) Provision is made for the dissolution of this
trust and all of its conditions.
We can likewise see that in the second of the
(1) All trusts in the first deed are included in the
(2) None of the conditions of the first deed
are included in the second deed.
(3) An additional trust is included covering
Tenets and By-Laws.
(4) The number of Directors established in the first
Deed is reaffirmed in the second Deed. There are still four. They are
IMPORTANT CHANGE IN CHURCH
In between the execution of the two Deeds of Trust, as
we have already seen, Mrs. Eddy, in the 28th Manual in February, 1903,
changed the number of Directors, creating a five-member Board. A month later
she reaffirmed a legal Board of four members in her March 19,1903 Deed of
The dates are significant because the change from four
to five Directors in the Church Manual, and the reaffirmation a month or
so later, in the second Deed, of the four-member Board established in the 1892
Deed, shows that Mrs. Eddy made the five-member Board an ecclesiastical body
under the Manual, and retained the four Directors in the Trust Deeds
as self-perpetuating fiduciary members.
In the next chapter we will see how this matter of the
two different Boards relates to civil law
TWO BOARDS OF DIRECTORS
ONE FIDUCIARY, ONE
We have now seen how Mrs. Eddy established and
identified two Boards of Directors. The first under the Deed of Trust of
September 1, 1892, consisted of four members authorized to fill
vacancies in their own ranks on their own responsibility. Under the conditions
of that Deed they could dissolve all operations when it was deemed inexpedient
to maintain preaching, etc. (Paragraph 10; see also paragraphs 9 and 11 of
Since this Deed was a legal, civil document,
the Board of Directors was responsible first to the law of the land.
Thus we have seen that eleven years later (and
after she had named an ecclesiastical Board of five Directors)
Mrs. Eddy on March 19,1903, executed a second Deed of Trust in which she
affirmed and reaffirmed the establishment of the "Christian Science Board of
Directors" under the 1892 Deed, and again identified this group as being
composed of FOUR named individuals. Further, while they were governed by all of
the trusts of the earlier Deed, none of the conditions of the
first Deed extended to the second Deed (See Manual pp. 136-138, or Appendix, p.
185). However a very important stipulation was contained in the second Deed,
namely that no new Tenet could be adopted, nor any changes be made in the
existing Tenets or By-Laws. The wording is almost identical with that found in
Article XXXV, Sections 1 and 3, of the Manual.
Then we saw that in the 28th Manual of
February, 1903, Mrs. Eddy had changed the number of members constituting the
Board of Directors under the Church Manual (Art. 1, Sec. 5) from four to
five members. This change in the By-Laws established a second Board of
Directors whose authority and duties flowed from the ecclesiastical
document governing The Mother Church, meaning the Manual of The First
Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. This Board is
ecclesiastical. Its members cannot be elected unless the candidate is approved
by the Pastor Emeritus (see Article I, See. 5, p. 26, lines 21-25 of the
current Manual), Provision for the removal of one or all of the
five-member ecclesiastical Board was made by Mary Baker Eddy in Art. 1, See. 5,
p. 26, and See. 9, p. 29; and Art XXIV, See. 6, p. 77.
Compare these regulations for the ecclesiastical Board
with those for the fiduciary Board, and it becomes apparent that (a) the two
Boards are not the same; (b) the ecclesiastical Board could be removed at any
time; the fiduciary Board could not. The ecclesiastical Board is controlled by
the estoppel clauses requiring the approval of Mrs. Eddy (or Pastor
Emeritus) in one form or another (and this ecclesiastical Board would be
dissolved at the passing of Mrs. Eddy); and (c) the fiduciary
Board, while it could terminate itself by its own decision, did not need
Mrs. Eddy to give personal approval as is required in the Church Manual
for the ecclesiastical Board.
This is all relevant to the question of the
"permanency" of The Mother Church, the tract mentioned earlier, entitled,
Permanency of The Mother Church and Its Manual, by Clifford P Smith,
with Foreword by the Board of Directors.
In this tract Judge Smith also implies that with no
Mother Church there can be no branches. But the fact is that at the time Mrs.
Eddy dissolved her first Boston organization in 1889 there were 98 churches in
the country (see February Journal of 1890); and just prior to the
formation of the second organization on September 23,1892, there were 210
churches (see September Journal, 1892). Thus in the interim, when there
was NO Boston organization (no Mother Church) in being, 112 churches were
Then he states: "Later she established the present
worldwide organization, The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ,
Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and its branches. ..." This is not
correct, because by the Deed of Trust of September 1, 1892, Mrs. Eddy only
provided a place where a "congregation" could worship, and "the congregation
which shall worship in said church shall be styled "the First Church of
Christ, Scientist (Man. p. 132:4). Nothing is mentioned about "The Mother
Church" or a "worldwide organization'"
Additionally, Article XXIII, Section 2, "Titles"
" 'The First Church of Christ, Scientist,' is the
legal title of The Mother Church." The Mother Church itself, being
ecclesiastical, has no legal status. The Board of Directors'
statement indicates that The Mother Church embraces The First Church of Christ,
Scientist, "and this," states Dr. Shawk, is thus incorrect. The Mother
Church does not embrace The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston.
Through the estoppel clauses in the Manual The Mother Church was
dissolved completely at Mrs. Eddy's passing and so could embrace no Church of
Christ, Scientist. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, could embrace a
spiritual concept of The Mother Church but not the reverse.
Further, on the second page of the Board of Directors'
Foreword to Smith's tract, we read: "Under the jurisdiction of this Church,
through provisions written by Mrs. Eddy in the Church Manual, she
established the many needful activities of the Christian Science movement."
Let us see what Mrs. Eddy did provide
temporarily while she was still here to govern and supervise, and what the
Manual actually provides: Article 1, Section 8, "Trusteeships and
Syndicates states, "Boards of Trustees and Syndicates may be formed by The
Mother Church, subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus." Thus the
Manual PROHIBITS the formation of what the Board of Directors in their
"Foreword" refer to as "the many needful activities of the Christian Science
Movement," initiated by The Mother Church, since Mrs. Eddy's passing in
In the Foreword to Permanency of The Mother Church,
the Board of Directors also indicate that the Christian Science Publishing
Society was created by the Manual.
This is not correct.
Mrs. Eddy formed the publishing Society by a Deed of
Trust executed January 25th, 1898, and the 8th Manual of 1898 carried a
portion of the provisions of the Publishing Society Deed of Trust. As long as
Mrs. Eddy remained with us the Publishing Society had a relation to The Mother
Church, but it had no relation at any time to The First Church of
Christ, Scientist, under the Deed of Trust of September 1, 1892.
Continuing in their "Foreword" to Permanency of The
Mother Church, the Board of Directors refer to the provision for the proper
training of teachers of C.S. and for the conduct of their classes and the
annual meeting of their students, etc. But under Article XXVIII, Section 2, we
again find an estoppel clause which brings to a halt "official" teaching when
Mrs. Eddy's approval is no longer available. But, as we have already seen, this
does not prevent teaching. Mrs. Eddy opened the door to all genuine teaching
when she wrote: "The student who heals by teaching and teaches by healing will
graduate under divine honors which are the only appropriate seals for Christian
Science ... Qualifications for membership in Mrs. Eddy's spiritual church are:
"The Bible, together with Science and Health and other works by Mary Baker
Eddy, shall be his only textbooks for ... teaching and practicing metaphysical
healing." Nothing about being "officially" taught.
Through the estoppels Mrs. Eddy terminated all
centralized control, insisting individuals are entitled to freedom of thought
and action in religion and Science, "Let us serve instead of rule...and allow
to each and every one the same rights and privileges we claim for ourselves."
Yet, as Professor Braden states:
... there is nowhere now any more centrally
controlled religious organization than the church she founded. As a
matter of fact, it is the rigidity of the organizational structure with its
extraordinary controls over its branch churches, its members, and
particularly over its teachers, readers, lecturers, practitioners, and other
responsible leaders, that has been the occasion for most of the conflict that
has been aroused.
This "control" is particularly noticeable in the
teaching field. Within the Movement today there are many excellent spiritually
minded teachers, but once they have been made an "official" teacher they have
signed away all rights to speak, write or publish freely. Everything must be
"approved" by the Board of Directors. This bondage to a Board of--Director
mind--control system is the antithesis of all Mary Baker Eddy taught. Our cause
can only be carried forward as her admonition is heeded: "Let the Word have
free course and be glorified." The present sad condition of our branch churches
is the result of the control the Boston organization maintains over them, even
to the point of having it written into their by-laws that when they close and
are sold, the proceeds are to go to The Mother Church. This is currently a
Earlier we spoke of Mrs. Eddy's letters of warning to
the church and to William B. Johnson, clerk of The Mother Church, apprising
them of the dire consequences of organizing a second time, predicting it would
"ruin the prosperity of the church." To ward off the impending danger she
foresaw, she allowed a "Mother Church" to exist only so long as she was
personally there to govern it. Once it was decided to reorganize, she would not
permit her Board of Directors or other immediate students to set up their
own church organization, as can be inferred from the following news item
...When they met in Miss Bartlett's rooms for the
purpose agreed upon, Dr. Foster Eddy was there to present...Mrs. Eddy's plan
for founding the church...Later Mrs. Eddy was to point out that this was not
the Board of Directors' church, or anybody else's church, but definitely "my
church" [Stetson, Sermons, pp. 218-220]. Eventually she stipulated that
all...deeds must include the phrase "Mary Baker Eddy's Church" (Man. p. 102:16,
Article XXXIV, Section 2). Plainly the church was to be hers and not theirs.
When inquiries came from the Field as to whether the
Manual also governed the branch churches, a representative was sent to
ask Mrs. Eddy about this. She replied, "Anyone should be able to see that the
Manual is only for a church that I control." While Mrs. Eddy was with us
it may have appeared to the Field that the Board of Directors was in control,
but the real control was always with Mrs. Eddy The Directors did whatever Mrs.
Eddy directed them to do. She held the reins at all times, and could at any
moment dismiss a Board member or the entire Board.
SERMONS AND OTHER WRITINGS
Facsimile exerpt from Mrs. Eddy's letter pointing out
that The First Church of Christ, Scientist was her church and not the
Board of Directors' church.
SERMONS AND OTHER WRITINGS
THE RAISING OF LAZARUS
RECOGNITION OF ESTOPPEL CLAUSES BY
SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
In their decision dated November 23, 1921, the Supreme
Judicial Court of Massachusetts recognized that there were two Boards of
Directors. (The Court, of course, did not recognize this fact in the sense of
making a correct differentiation.) They saw that one Board was ecclesiastical,
deriving its powers from the Church Manual and composed of five members.
The second Board of Directors derived its power from
the 1892 Deed of Trust, and was a self-perpetuating legal body. Its functions
are defined in the Manual (pp. 128-135), none of which extend beyond the local
It was to the advantage of the five-member
ecclesiastical Board of Directors to confuse church members regarding the
five-member Board and the four-member Board. An article by George Wendell
Adams, a former Director of The Mother Church, reveals this confusion,
resulting from the Directors' attempts to hold a completely spiritual
organization in the grasp of material organization.
GEORGE WENDELL ADAMS ARTICLE
In his article, George Wendell Adams states, "Another
significant fact is that the Deed of Trust which was the nucleus of The Mother
Church organization ...."
This is not correct. Neither the Deed of Trust of
September 1, 1892, nor the Deed of Trust of March 19,1903, had anything to do
with The Mother Church organization, nor did it have anything to do with the
Manual or any other ecclesiastical matter. It did relate to the Manual in that
the 1903 Deed of Trust granted land for the extension on the condition that the
By-Laws in the Manual would be obeyed as written with its estoppel clauses.
(The Manual, p. 132, paragraph 6, says: "The
congregation which shall worship in said church shall be styled "The First
Church of Christ, Scientist."') Adams' article further states that the Deed of
Trust "does not call for Mrs. Eddy's approval in writing or otherwise...." This
is correct, but it has nothing to do with the ecclesiastical Board of five
Directors under the By-Laws of the Manual who do require Mrs.
Eddy's consent and approval.
On page 3 Adams states: "This deed, dated September 1,
1892 ... created the Board of Directors and provided for their successors in
office,..." which is correct, but he adds, "...and for certain other important
administrative offices and functions of fundamental importance. This again is
incorrect, as can readily be seen by reading Mrs. Eddy's provisions in
the Deed of Trust in the Manual, paragraphs 1 through 11, on pp.
130-133, where the actual functions of the Board of Directors are defined. They
are limited to keeping a preacher or reader in the pulpit, keeping the building
in repair, etc. The building was to be maintained as a local branch church for
the people of Boston who wished to worship in that edifice. Nothing is
mentioned about "other important administrative offices and functions of
fundamental importance. "
In his article, Adams refers to the letter Mrs. Eddy
wrote the Board of Directors in response to their letter pertaining to legal
matters (which we noted in Chapter IL p. 55). There we noted Mrs. Eddy's
primary concern was not with "legal" matters but with strict obedience to her
By-Laws as written.
In this letter Mrs. Eddy wrote that if she was not
personally with them her instructions in the By-Laws would remain to guide them
safely on; and the teachings of St. Paul, she said, are as useful today as when
they were first written.
In commenting on this letter from Mrs. Eddy, Dr. Shawk
says that one of St. Paul's teaching was, "Dare any of you, having a matter
against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?" (I
Thus, we come to "the law" implied in Mrs. Eddy's
reference to the teachings of St. Paul. In this matter of law, various
versions of George Wendell Adams' church tract have appeared over the years and
in each version one or more letters from prominent Boston legal firms are
quoted in full, indicating the Board's need to justify its position
In an early version, copyright 1927 by the Christian
Science Publishing Society, three such letters from legal firms were included.
The first was from
Choate, Hall & Stewart
Counselors at Law
30 State St. Boston
The second letter is from
John L. Bates
Counselor at Law
73 Tremont St. Boston
The third letter is from
Abbot, Dane, Buffum & Sanderson
Counselors at Law
73 Tremont Street, Boston
(March 21, 1927)
On the other hand, the Honorable Charles Evans
Hughes--who later became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court-saw
the issue clearly, and in his summary argument for the Publishing Trustees,
There are two conceptions of harmony One is teachings
the harmony produced by despotic power; the other is the harmony that results
from the unity of ideas and common views of a religious truth. It seems to us
most unjust to Mrs. Eddy, most contrary to her, to assume for a moment that she
relied upon the exercise of the despotic power which these Directors have
arrogated to themselves.
... The unity which these [Directors) wish, the unity
of despotic power, the control absolutely of this entire government of
Christian Science in the church and in the publications and everywhere else,
that is the unity which might well destroy the very faith of the organization
for the propagation of the faith to which they profess to be devoted.
Returning to Judge Clifford P. Smith's article
contained in the George Wendell Adams church tract, and entitled, "Mrs. Eddy's
Expressed Intention" (p. 10), he states:
As distinguished from earlier forms of Christian
Science organization, The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist,
in Boston, Massachusetts, was founded and organized by a Deed of Trust, dated
September 1, 1892, and a meeting of First Members held on September 23, 1892.
This is not true as can be seen by a perusal of pp.
128-135 of the Manual, or Appendix, p. 182. The Deed of Trust of
September 1, 1892, named the congregation which would worship in the
edifice to be built as "The First Church of Christ, Scientist;" in other words,
the people who worshipped in the edifice were named "The First Church of
Christ, Scientist. " On the other hand, the meeting of First Members on
September 23rd, 1892 (three weeks later) formed a church which at first was
called "Mother's Church" and which was eventually to be known as The
Mother Church. The two churches were not identical. The Mother Church with its
five Directors is governed by the By-Laws found between pages 25 and 105
in the Church Manual, while The First Church of Christ, Scientist, with
its four Directors was established by the Deed of Trust of 1892, and is
governed by that Deed, found on page 128 of the Manual. The Mother
Church was terminated with Mrs. Eddy's passing.
Officialdom's statements, such as the one just quoted
from Judge Smith's article, contribute to the Field's misunderstanding
regarding the difference between the fiduciary and the ecclesiastical bodies.
Judge Smith concludes his initial paragraph with the sentence: "From the time
she founded The Mother Church, all that she did and said evinced the intention
that it should be permanent. Let's look closely at this statement. It
encompasses the period from September 23, 1892, until December 3, 1910. During
these eighteen years Mrs. Eddy added twenty-six or more estoppel clauses
which at Mrs. Eddy's departure would terminate The Mother Church, its officers,
its various offices and functions. Mrs. Eddy refers to her "instructions""as
we saw earlier, in the letter dated February 27,1903 (se; Chapter II, p.
55) and which Judge Smith reproduced in his article. These "instructions"
mandate the dissolution of The Mother Church when Mrs. Eddy was no longer
Does this evince "the intention that [The Mother
Church] should be permanent"?
Judge Smith, the Board of Directors, and the legal
firms retained by the Board (in the late 1920's) to confirm their assumption of
control of the church government, were of course acting in accordance with
their interpretation of the By-Laws which, in effect, was "legalism's
challenge" to Mary Baker Eddy's divinely inspired Manual. These legal
opinions are without value, however, since they are civil law
interpretations of a spiritual law instrument.
Both Judge Smith and the lawyers emphasized the Deed
of Trust statements regarding the Directors: "and to their legitimate
successors in office forever...."
Why so much attention to this?
Under the Deed of Trust of September 1, 1892, these
Directors could fill their own vacancies without reference to anyone, and since
the Deed was "perpetual," the legal phrase: "and to their legitimate successors
in office forever" was never questioned. But trying to grant perpetuity to the
ecclesiastical Board of Directors by making them identical with the legally
established Board under the Trust Deed of September 1, 1892, is an effort to
annul the clause in Article 1, Section 5, p. 26 which does not provide for a
self-perpetuating Board. Rather, it states:
The Christian Science Board of Directors shall consist
of five members. They shall fill a vacancy occurring on that Board, after
the candidate is approved by the Pastor Emeritus."
The ecclesiastical Board has always attempted to make
the two Boards appear identical and to operate under the Deed of Trust
provision whereby the fiduciary (the legal) Board was "perpetual." This is a
violation of Article XXXV, Sections 1 and 3 of the Church Manual which
This Manual shall not be revised without the
written consent of its author [the Pastor Emeritus, Mary Baker Eddy].
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.
By not defrocking themselves at the June, 1911, Annual
Meeting when the Directors' terms of office expired the Board was, in effect,
revising the Manual, and annulling its By-Laws.
We have already seen that "eternity awaits our
Church Manual" and the Church Manual calls for the impermanence
of The Mother Church. The Manual, however, is perpetual and "eternal"
because it is the Manual of "The First Church of Christ, Scientist," the
"perpetual" church under civil law, having been established by the Deed of
Trust of September 1, 1892. The Manual, through its estoppel clauses,
eternally guards the freedom of every Christian Scientist.
The Church Manual controlled the ecclesiastical
body, The Mother Church, and thus it controlled the members of that church, who
were also ecclesiastical.
The Church Manual also has provision for the
protection of the branches of the Church of Christ, Scientist. These branches
are chartered under civil law and are subject to civil law.
The contents of the Church Manual itself are
not under civil law. But the legal Board of four Directors is not free to
disregard the Church Manual's provisions because the land in the second
Deed of Trust of March 19,1903, was "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." Since, in this legal Deed of Trust, this additional trust was
imposed on the grantees it makes the adherence to this trust a matter of civil
THE EXTENSION IS BRANCH NOT
It is interesting to note that the Boston congregation
which met in the little Mother Church was given the capitalized "The," as we
saw--"The First Church..." to distinguish it from the other churches of
Christ, Scientist, existing in Boston and elsewhere.
Now, turning to the second Deed of Trust of March
19,1903, (page 136 of the Church Manual) we see that this condition in
regard to the name of the congregation using the first edifice does not
apply to the congregation using the second edifice, the Extension. The
Extension is branch, not Mother.
This raises an interesting question, comments Dr.
Shawk. Since the Extension is branch and not "Mother," why does it appear
prominently in sketches and photographs put out by the Boston Headquarters
indicating the Extension is The Mother Church? This is a
misrepresentation, because the Extension is a branch like any other branch in
the U.S.A. or worldwide. It is inaccurate to picture it as The Mother
Architectural drawing of The First Church of
Christ, Scientist, completed in 1894. Expressing the outpouring gratitude of
her students, it stands as an enduring recognition of her labors and
achievements. In 1906 the magnificent Extension, sometimes erroneously referred
to as The Mother Church, was completed.
SECOND DEED OF TRUST NOT
At this Point let us briefly review the highly
damaging statement in the two "BILLS in EQUITY" that the second Deed of Trust
in the Manual (pages 136-138) was "supplementary to and in amendment of" the
Deed of September 1, 1892. The second Deed, written a month after Mrs.
Eddy created the five-member ecclesiastical Board, confirmed--reaffirmed--a
Board of four Directors as the only legal and self-perpetuating
Board. This second Deed was complete and self-contained. So the statement
that it was "supplementary to and in amendment of" the Deed of 1892 is utterly
false and it is hard to understand how Counsel for the Publishing Society
Trustees could have made such an error. But they did! and it was to cost the
Publishing Trustees the victory.
The second Deed of Trust didn't add anything to the
first Deed. The second Deed was complete in itself and its trusts were taken
verbatim from the first Deed. The second Deed being self-contained it could not
"amend" anything in the first Deed. The effort seems to have been directed,
mistakenly, towards combining the (little) Mother Church with the Extension.
This should never have been done by the legal counsel for the Publishing
Society, since the Publishing Society had nothing to gain by this effort.
This was the point on which the Publishing Trustees
could have won their suit, says Dr. Shawk, had they recognized it and taken
advantage of it. But, as we saw earlier, while it seems inconceivable that
counsel for the Publishing Trustees could have made an error of this magnitude,
"God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform, " and one cannot doubt
that the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was a right
decision under the circumstances. It was not up to the Court to legislate
freedom of religious choice onto people who had barely begun to grow toward it.
We don't see much progress by "a man convinced against his will."
The legal counsel for the Board of Directors
recognized this phraseology--"supplementary to and in amendment of the Deed of
September 1, 1892"--as being what they needed, even though it was an error. The
shrewd and astute lawyers for the Board of Directors seized on this point and
used the identical phraseology in their Bill in Equity, dated April 10th, 1920.
They had everything to gain through this error by the Publishing Society's
(a) The five-member ecclesiastical Board of Directors
was not a self-perpetuating body since they needed Mrs. Eddy's approval to fill
a vacancy in their ranks. They therefore needed to somehow tie themselves to,
or get themselves confused with, the self-perpetuating legal four-member Board
of Directors Mrs. Eddy established in her 1892 Deed of Trust.
(b) When Counsel for the Publishing Society Trustees
erroneously characterized the 1903 self-contained (second) Deed of Trust as
"supplemental to and in amendment of" the [first] Deed of September 1, 1892,
they gave the lawyers for the five-member ecclesiastical Board of Directors
what they needed to support their case.
(c) If the second Deed of Trust could be characterized
as merely being "supplemental to, and in amendment of" the first Deed of Trust
of September 1, 1892, then it could be made to appear that the (actually
temporary) five-member ecclesiastical Board that Mrs. Eddy established under
the Manual in February, 1903, took precedence over the 1892 Deed of
Trust. But the March 19, 1903 Deed actually confirmed the four-member legal
Board a month after the five-member ecclesiastical Board was established
in the Manual.
The question might be asked, "Why did Mrs. Eddy
include the two Deeds of Trust covering land for the two church edifices in the
Church Manual?" Surely Mrs. Eddy wanted to have on record for eternity
that there was a great difference between The Mother Church (ecclesiastical)
and The First Church of Christ, Scientist (fiduciary), and that there was also
a great difference between the five-member ecclesiastical Board of The
Mother Church and the four-member legal Board of The First Church of
Christ, Scientist, Boston.
It is very fortunate that these two Deeds of Trust are
in the Church Manual, otherwise they could easily have disappeared,
comments Dr. Shawk, and the Field would have remained ignorant of very
important fundamental facts. As an illustration of this: Mrs. Eddy's card
regarding her disapproval of "authorized" literature was removed from Reading
Room copies of Volume IX of the Christian Science Journal. This card
contained vital information concerning her opinion that rather than have an
official ecclesiastical Committee select reading material for Christian
Scientists, she considered each of her students capable of selecting his or her
own reading material. Had her instruction on this absolutely crucial point been
preserved in the Manual the policy of "authorized literature" could not
have been imposed on the Field over these many years. The fear that has been
instilled in Church members regarding the reading of Christian Science
literature not "authorized" by the Board of Directors in Boston is completely
incomprehensible to those outside official church circles. The Board's chief
weapon is fear. Veiled threats of excommunication with its resultant disgrace,
and ostracism by fellow Christian Scientists, keep dissenters in line.
THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST,
SCIENTIST, IS BRANCH
The four-member legal Board of Directors, under their
Deed of Trust, had authority only over the local Boston church. Both the little
Mother Church and The First Church of Christ, Scientist, became, in effect,
branch churches at Mrs. Eddy's passing. If branch churches were in fact
branches of The Mother Church then dissolution of The Mother Church at Mrs.
Eddy's passing would also have dissolved the branches then existing. But
Article XXIII, Section 6, provides for the continuity of those branches after
Here again we come to the important question: Did Mrs.
Eddy intend for the human organization, including the branch churches,
to go on forever after she was no longer here to control it?
At this point Dr. Shawk calls special attention to
page 72:19 of the Manual which reads:
If the Pastor Emeritus, Mrs. Eddy, should relinquish
her place as the head or Leader of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, each
branch church shall continue its present form of government in consonance with
The Mother Church Manual.
Shawk says: "Read this again, and note that 'each
branch church shall continue its present form of government...." This
means that no more branches could be formed after her passing since a church
formed after her passing could not continue its present form of
government.' It had not yet been created, and thus could not 'continue.' This
again testifies that Mrs. Eddy did not intend for the material organization to
continue when she was no longer here to control it."
On the basis of the above-quoted By-Law the thousand
or so branches became fixed at the June, 1911, Annual Meeting when the
estoppels dissolved The Mother Church, and no more branches were to be formed.
Only the branches that existed at that time could be called branches.
MISSION OF THE PUBLISHING
Through the entirely separate establishment of the
Publishing Society, Mrs. Eddy hoped to protect Christian Science from an
ecclesiastical hierarchy, and to give Christian Science to the entire world.
She did not copyright her last fourteen editions of Science and Health even
though they contained vital and far-reaching "changes"--momentous scientific
changes--which consummated the teachings of the Christian Science textbook.
Here it must be remembered that Mrs. Eddy said, "I have revised Science and
Health only to give a clearer and fuller expression of its original meaning.
Spiritual ideas unfold as we advance." A Science doesn't need to be
copyrighted. "Christian Science is not copyrighted," and a Science doesn't need
a church. A church can only hinder a Science. Religion binds thought back to
outgrown modes. Science eternally unfolds new, higher, light. Mrs. Eddy was
concerned with spiritual development, not with becoming more "religious" or
more bound back into outgrown forms of worship. Mrs. Eddy taught that all is
infinite Mind, infinitely manifested, and that existence separate from divinity
is illusion since all that really exists is the omnipresence of present
perfection, forever unfolding new and higher views.
Sooner or later every Scientist must learn to prefer
the divine facts of reality to his dearest illusions.
Having a divine outlook, Mrs. Eddy hoped to establish
Christian Science through spiritual means alone. Each individual must learn for
himself the Science of the Christ which she discovered. Living in a religious
age, her followers, clogged by their materiality, clamored for a "church" and a
church was formed as a concession to the spiritual benightedness of that
period, with the hope that it would be a step in the way of leading humanity to
an understanding of the "CHURCH UNIVERSAL AND TRIUMPHANT," which is found in
the Christian Science textbook and not in a material church organization.
Succinctly Mrs. Eddy defines Church on page 583 of Science and Health as:
The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon
and proceeds from divine Principle.
The Church is that institution which affords proof of
its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding
from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the
demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and
healing the sick.
Correctly seen, the Manual and the Christian
Science textbook complement each other. The Manual liberates Christian
Science from the shackles of organized religion and so frees us from the
materiality that would try to "hold Spirit in the grasp of matter."
The various documents we are examining in this book
bear on "Church" and are an aid to seeing that Church (meaning the CHURCH
UNIVERSAL AND TRIUMPHANT) is not to be found in material organization but in
the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Through its
teaching we find ourselves to be the image and likeness of the Father-Mother
God, or man, the generic term for mankind. Because Mrs. Eddy knew that this
state of consciousness cannot be attained within organizational fetters, i.e.
by material ways and means, she inserted in the Church Manual estoppel
clauses designed to terminate the material organization at her passing. But
when legalism challenged Mary Baker Eddy's Manual as written, and the
estoppels were waived, the harmonious church government she had planned did not
materialize. Instead conflict ensued and led to the great literature litigation
which we will discuss next.
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