With her delicate, impressive, poetic features, Mary Baker Eddy seemed the embodiment of the modern evangelist as Renaissance woman. This 19th century figure was turned to for answers regarding God and healing by people who became her followers. At the prime of her career, Eddy had sacrificed her own work for the good of her followers by becoming manager of a Church she established, rather than its chief scientist.
Eddy managed to foster an atmosphere of unusual freedom. Her church resonated with a romantic, palpable sense of magic. As a leader of a people who were solemn, egocentric, and difficult, Eddy behaved with motherly sensitivity. She mustered managerial skills that no one, including herself, previously knew she possessed.
Friends and family knew her as fragile, privileged, and sheltered. Her childhood didn’t prepare her for a world full of callous bitter things. She had no normal, healthy way to be offended. Her apprehension of “the power of pride” and the “pride of power” was partly responsible for her circumspection. She wrote a Church Manual, hoping followers could interpret her words outside their own agenda and favoritism. With an uneasy personal life, she was only saved from herself by the sheer power of her spirituality and, for brief time at least, the world’s need to employ it.
After her death, church members began to find out the limits of their power. In the end, they had little control over the consequences of their work. They pursued the unknown world of divine Mind, because it was there, but ventured into a world filled with moral ambiguities, if not pure absurdity. Rifts between marginal leaders turned into chasms, however the spiritual truths promulgated by Eddy continued to be understood and practiced, even by people outside her church.
Spirituality and healing is alive and well. Thinkers are thinking for themselves. God is being worshiped and turned to as a power of Love and Truth. We are experiencing improvement.
Spirituality, scientifically approached, accompanied the 21st Century into existence. Today, every city, town, and hamlet has some form of outlet for spiritual learning. We read in 21st Century Science and Health, that although Eddy and the ideas in her book may be temporarily abused by means of neglect or idolatry, she did indeed still predict that “the Science and truth therein will forever remain to be discerned and demonstrated.”