Escaping Christian Science Beliefs and DarknessJesus has been the love of my life for 49 years. Before that I was in deep darkness. I had heard of Jesus as told by Christian Science, but I had never heard of "Salvation". I was taught there is no sin. The concept of sin was "Unreality". After death all souls went to a "Another Plane of Existence". There was no Hell; this was "Error", wrong belief from not knowing the "Truth". The Truth was: "God is Good; therefore he does not punish". This "Truth" was "discovered" in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy. She called it Christian Science. She claimed her discovery, that God's goodness precluded the existence of evil, was the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy that He would send a Comforter to lead us into all truth. The "Comforter" was "Christian Science". These peculiar meanings were the sum of the "Truth": that belief in the reality of sin, disease and death is "Error". They are not real. They are manifested because we believe they are real.
This twisted interpretation of the Bible was the Darkness out of which God brought me. Mrs. Eddy taught that "Knowing the Truth" causes symptoms of sickness to disappear in "Healing". Symptoms are "Manifestations". "Knowing the Truth" is the "Practice of Christian Science", a mantra repeated unendingly "Disease is not Real", self-hypnotically. Sometimes symptoms DO disappear, when psychosomatic in the first place.
God began my deliverance out of this darkness at the age of 18, after a bout with pneumonia. I realized Christian Science was insane: they said the pneumonia wasn't real; it was to me. That led to my search for the real truth and the real God.... I didn't know how to find out whether God was real. I knew if there was one, it wasn't the god of Christian Science. I went to a few churches, but did not understand what I heard. The phrase "Jesus died to save us" was meaningless. What did He save us from, and how did He do it? Since I had been taught sin was not real, I didn't know what sin was; I had never heard of repentance, the Lake of Fire, the Second Coming, Judgment, Gospel, Salvation, Redemption, or Savior.
I had heard that God did miracles; Christianity revolved around Jesus; believing in God also meant believing in Jesus and that God was benevolent and able to intervene in people's lives to change circumstances. I had no idea what Christianity was about until I was 24. I had gone with my boyfriend and a mutual friend on an outing, and we stopped at someone's home. While they were talking I started leafing through a stack of Christian magazines on her coffee table. I began to read one, and felt impelled to read it all. Then I began to read more, three cover to cover. My friends were ready to go, but I wanted to stay and read more. We decided they would pick me up on the way home. I read about 15 magazines with people's testimonies about miracles from God. I came away wanting to find out for myself if God was real, with the image of benevolence and power that the magazines depicted. Reading them sparked my appetite for spiritual nourishment.
My Mental BreakdownI finished my graduate degree in 1968, and found a job with NASA, working on the lunar exploration project of the Apollo Eleven Lunar Mission. I worked in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory near Houston where the Astronauts were first quarantined after "Splashdown" and where the moon rock was delivered. It was ground up into fine black sand to simulate soil. Samples were delivered to all the sections: zoology, microbiology, chemistry, botany etc. I was in the botany section. The work was intense; shifts were 12 hours long, seven days a week. We had a standard lab for backup work and a sterile lab with sealed plexiglass cabinets and built in impervious, rubberized gloves. It was a high stress job; the eyes of Washington were on us. The eyes of the world were on us.
I had psychological issues with the site. Labs for handling the lunar material were kept obsessively germ-free. Entering them was like being imprisoned in a high security jail every morning. Sterilized clothing meant undressing in an outer locker room, going through a shower that opened into an ultraviolet chamber through which you walked naked to a germ-free inner locker room, putting on sterilized clothing. You would be imprisoned for four hours until your first break. Then you put your "dirty" clothing where they could be sterilized again, walked naked back through the ultraviolet air lock, put on street clothing and ate lunch. You repeated this for one break and dinner. I hated the overcast smoggy Houston air that smelled like oil refineries. I felt depressed; stressed and anxious . It led to a meltdown which a psychiatrist diagnosed as "major depression, reactive type".
I spent six weeks in a psychiatric hospital, but when I came out I was like a broken china doll. I was afraid of groups of people. I would become disoriented and fearful. I faced my finances: I was unable to work, but had payments on a car. The bank foreclosed when they realized I was unemployed. I had just enough money in the bank for one month of rent and food. I was in a strange town and knew no one but my psychiatrist's nurse, Jan. I had no place to go. I developed a pervasive memory loss. I did not understand who my husband was. I remembered that I had known him in graduate school, but did not remember marrying him. I rented a single room with a tiny kitchen area. My mind was a perpetual dark smog. I tried to think through a solution, but there wasn't any.
My Desperate Prayer and MiraclesMy mind went back to the day when I read all those Christian magazines, and thought how real the experiences seemed. I determined that since there were no human solutions, I would find out whether God was real. If he was, he would help me, and I would commit my future to him. I worked out a plan that would prove to me whether or not he was real. I had five problems that were humanly impossible, and spoke out loud to the air. I said: "God, if you are real, I need your help and I am willing to listen. This is what I need: someone who really cares about me; a home base with a phone; immediate cash until I can get unemployment compensation; a real home; and some way to refinance my car." I knew my bank balance was zero, but after speaking my needs, I believed that if God was real he would help me.
The next morning I went to the grocery store. I was in the check-out line when I started to sob. The woman ahead of me was my nurse, Jan! She put her arms around me and told me to go to her house. She truly cared about me. Before going, I stopped and picked up my mail. My bank statement had been forwarded. I knew the balance was zero, but I opened it anyway. I gasped because a $400 deposit had just been made. I knew the bank had made a mistake and I would have to pay it back, but it was the immediate cash I needed. Then I drove to Jan's house. I met her husband Bill, a warm and welcoming person. After dinner Jan and Bill asked me to stay and live with them, rent-free, until I could get back on my feet.
The next day was Sunday. I had already joined the choir in a church that I knew sang classical music, and I was a classically trained singer. They loved the rich harmonic structure of classical sacred music. The words of our anthems were my introduction to Christian doctrine and God's glory.
The next morning I tackled the last of my problems: financing my car. Driving randomly, I noticed a trailer in a lot with a sign that read: Coming Soon -- XXX Bank. A silent voice spoke clearly in my mind "Turn in here". I went in to ask about a loan, but I had to wait where a man was reading a newspaper. The headline said "NASA Studies Moon Rocks". He told me his name and asked mine. He knew I was not local and asked where I was from. I told him I had been in the hospital there for six weeks, but before, I had worked for NASA. He knew immediately I was a psychiatric patient because no one else ever stayed for six weeks. I talked with him for about 20 minutes about the work NASA was doing. When the loan officer was free I excused myself and stood up. That man went ahead of me, knocked on the other man's desk and said "Give her anything she wants." He was president of the bank and he gave me a car loan, against all probability.
I Knew God Was RealTwo and a half days had gone by, and God had intervened to solve all five problems in the order I asked. No way could I doubt God's existence or his benevolence, so I held up my end of the bargain. I told him I would follow him. He has led me step by step for the past 50 years, across deserts, up mountains, down into chasms and back up again. Along the way I changed churches several times as God fed me what I needed. Some churches feed God's lambs spiritual milk; others feed God's spiritual warriors strong meat. I started with ones that taught me the loving and powerful nature of God, and the majesty of the Christ, the Messiah, who alone deserves honor and glory,... but moved on to ones that first taught me about repentance from sin and what salvation was, then the power of Jesus which works through humble Christians enabled by the Holy Spirit. He gave me a new life.
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