1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Christian Science

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CHRISTIAN SCIENCE (see 6.291). In 1910 the total number of Christian Science churches was 1,201 (1,077 in the United States, 58 in England, 38 in Canada, 28 elsewhere); on Jan. 1 1920 the number was 1,804 (1,590 in the United States, 98 in England, 46 in Canada, 70 elsewhere). As a Christian Science church invariably has two readers, the one to read the Bible, the other to read the text-book (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures), the number of readers in 1910 was 2,402 and in 1920 was 3,608. Statistics of membership are never issued officially; and in 1921 there was nothing later on the subject than the Report on Religious Bodies, published in 1908 by the U. S. Bureau of the Census, showing in the United States in 1906 85,717 members, of whom about 72% were women.

After the death in 1910 of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder and director of the denomination, the board appointed by her became the governing body of the church. Mrs. Eddy's estate, amounting to $2,500,000, was left for the promotion of Christian Science, and in 1914 the trustees announced that the income would be used in providing lectures, in distributing authorized literature throughout the world, in establishing libraries in connexion with churches, societies, and reading-rooms, and, so far as possible, in helping towards the erection of church buildings. Upon the outbreak of the World War in 1914 the Christian Science churches in Paris organized relief activities for war sufferers, and at the end of the year the board of directors of the Mother Church (the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.) appointed a War Relief Committee. Funds were raised from their own members and distributed through authorized representatives in the warring countries; up to May 31 1917 the total receipts for relief work were $310,700 of which $264,400 had been forwarded for distribution. In 1917, after the entrance of the United States into the war, a Camp Welfare Committee was appointed, over 100 welfare rooms were opened in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, and approximately $150,000 expended on buildings and equipment. More than 2,000 persons served without compensation as camp welfare workers and in other capacities. The denomination had nine chaplains in the army and one in the navy. The total amount raised for war work approximated $2,000,000.

The decade 1910-20 witnessed considerable dissension within the church. In 1909 the board of directors of the Mother Church in Boston expelled from the church Mrs. Augusta E. Stetson, who since 1890 had been pastor of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, of New York City. It was charged that Mrs. Stetson was using her influence to insure her succession to the headship of the denomination after Mrs. Eddy's death. This was denied by Mrs. Stetson, who in turn charged the directors with promoting a false and materialistic interpretation of Mrs. Eddy's writings. Although defended by a large number of followers, she quietly resigned her New York pastorship. In 1913 she published her side of the case in Reminiscences, Sermons and Correspondence Proving Adherence to the Principle of Christian Science as Taught by Mary Baker Eddy. In 1919 a serious dispute arose between the trustees of the Christian Science Publishing Society and the board of directors of the Mother Church. The trustees claimed that the board aimed to create an oligarchy, and was trying to usurp their powers. They denied that they were under the jurisdiction of the board, which, in turn, claimed supreme authority. Through counsel (among whom was Charles E. Hughes) the trustees secured in 1919 a temporary injunction, restraining the board from interfering with the trustees of the publication society. At first the courts seemed to support the contention of the trustees; the majority of the churches apparently sided with the directors. Several cases were reported in which persons associated with the trustees' publications were forbidden by churches to teach in Sunday-schools. The injunction was set aside Nov. 23 1921.

In 1921 the church was issuing the following periodicals: The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons; The Christian Science Journal, a monthly; Der Herold der Christian Science, a monthly, with pages alternately in English and German; Le Héraut de Christian Science, a monthly, with pages alternately in English and French; The Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly; and The Christian Science Monitor, an excellent international daily, published in Boston.