The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy/Appendix C

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There is no fundamental similarity between Christian Science and Shakerism, but there are significant resemblances. Ann Lee's main contribution to religious theories or pretensions was the idea that God is both masculine and feminine. She, herself, claimed to be the "female principle of God," and the Shakers believed and taught that she was the "female Christ." Mrs. Eddy also teaches the femininity of God, and Christian Scientists have claimed that she is the "feminine principle of Deity." The Shakers asserted for Ann Lee that she was greater than Christ. Mrs. Eddy has said that her revelation of Christian Science was "higher, clearer, and more permanent,"[1] than that given eighteen centuries ago. The Shakers prayed always to "Our Father and Mother which are in Heaven," while Mrs. Eddy has "spiritually interpreted" the Lord's Prayer, making it read: "Our Father-Mother God." The Shakers proclaimed Ann Lee to be the woman of the Apocalypse, calling her the "God-anointed Woman," and the "Holy Comforter." In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy has called the attention of her followers to the significance of the chapter in Revelation on the woman of the Apocalypse and its "relation to the present age," suggesting that the woman represents the founder of Christian Science. Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy teaches, is the "Holy Comforter." In the original Mother Church in Boston is a stained-glass window, showing the woman of the Apocalypse clothed in the sun and crowned with twelve stars. It is titled "The Woman God Crowned," and above it is a representation of the book Science and Health. Shakers always called Ann Lee "Mother"; Christian Scientists formerly thus addressed Mrs. Eddy. Mother Ann, like Mother Eddy, declared that she had the gift of healing. She also believed that she took upon herself the sins and sufferings of others; in the early days, Mrs. Eddy had the same idea. The Shakers believed that Mother Ann had spiritual illumination—the mind that saw things as they were; that the rest of the world was deceived; that the evidence of the senses, used against her, might mislead; this is a prevailing idea in regard to Mrs. Eddy among Christian Scientists. Ann Lee governed largely through fear; her followers believed that, with her mental powers, she could inflict torment upon them in this world. In the early Christian Science days, if not now, "malicious animal magnetism"—as Mrs. Eddy named this power of mentally working evil on others—was an orthodox doctrine. The Shakers called their establishment "The Church of Christ"; Mrs. Eddy used the same name, adding the word "Scientist." They called the original foundation the "Mother Church"; Mrs. Eddy so designated her first Boston building. Ann Lee forbade audible prayer, teaching that it "exposed the desires"; Mrs. Eddy opposes audible prayer, which may "utter desires which are not real." Finally, Ann Lee enjoined celibacy. Mrs. Eddy teaches that celibacy is a more spiritual state than marriage; she permits the marriage relation merely as "expedient,"—"suffer it to be so now."

  1. A statement in a personal letter.