More than 30,000 Christian denominations exist worldwide, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia.

Thirty thousand. That’s an enormous number.

A 2018 Barna Research study reports that, “Churches of all stripes practice their own flavor of ministry in cities across the United States, all based on particular interpretations of scripture and style.”

Arguably, there is no lack of interpretations and style, although it’s unfortunate when they provoke confusion or havoc. However, the surplus of understandings and style can promote spirituality and peace of mind.

In my memoir, I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter, I talk about the mental confusion experienced as a child when I was sexually abused. I talk about learning to say no to someone using me for their own self-satisfaction.

I also talk about the power to say yes to life instead of to death.

Saying yes to life stirred me to survive a fiery terrible accident. Moreover, it eventually helped me prioritize divine rules before church rules, probably because my church was dying.

The church was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century and grew like wildflowers until mid-20th century. In Binghamton, a branch church was located at 17 Front Street from 1939 until 2006.

A unique feature of these churches is the idea of an objective Pastor, communicated during services by lay-readers reading from the Bible and Eddy’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. But, what worked in the past wasn’t working in the future.

Multiple reasons are found for the demise of my church and its pastor, however, I discovered that even if church was gone, I still have the religion, Christian Science, simply defined as the law of divine Spirit interpreting harmony to the universe.

It was curious to learn that my religion wasn’t dependent on church.

If I learned anything else through my religion, it is the value of not acting as if other people solve my problems for me. Sure, I can watch and follow quality examples, but I need to be accountable to the divine.

Pew Research reported that about half of United States adults switch churches sometime in their lives. The Pew study found that, “Fully 83% of Americans who have looked for a new place of worship say the quality of preaching played an important role in their choice of congregation.”

I think the choice isn’t so much between 30,000, or more, denominations, as it is choosing the collective enormous divine Spirit as alive and well.

Bio: Cheryl Petersen is a freelance writer and author of, 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and from science & religion to God.

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