A friend lent me a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures when I was seventeen. Before this time I had occasionally asked God, "What is the truth about You? There are so many different opinions. What should I believe?"
I read the first chapter, "Prayer," from this book by Mary Baker Eddy, which explains the Science of Christ. I was impressed by the author. "She was intelligent," I thought. Through her writing, I discerned that she spoke with the authority of someone who understood God. What she explained about prayer opened my eyes to a new way of knowing God as the loving source of good. I agreed with what Science and Health explains about how to pray. In my heart I felt it was the truth.
The chapter pointed out to me that prayer is not about begging God to change a bad human situation into a good one. Prayer is an affirmation of God's ever-presence and complete power. Further, the effect of prayer is that it reforms us and removes from us what is unlike God -- what is unlike good. Understanding God heals the situation being prayed about. Healing effects come in God's own way.
As I read on, it did not matter to me that I didn't immediately understand everything. I was getting enough for then. I learned that God is the only creator and is both our Father and our Mother. This made sense to me, because it accounted for male and female qualities, evident in all creatures. Even though I was young, Christian Science, which I learned Mrs. Eddy discovered in 1866, was logical to me, and I realized it was the truth of God that I had been searching for. This book introduced me to my divine Parent, whom I could trust.
The following summer I made the decision to put this book to the test. From early childhood I'd had a recurrence of severe sore throats and painful tonsillitis. My tonsils had been removed at age sixteen, but the sore throats would still return. I knew from the testimonies in the back of Science and Health that people had been physically healed just by reading the book. I threw out my medicine and opened the book at random. I had no idea where to start. My eyes rested on page 376. After reading the whole page I pondered this sentence: "Destroy fear, and you end fever." Then this: "To fear and admit the power of disease, is to paralyze mental and scientific demonstration." I realized I must stop fearing the sore throats and declare what I'd learned: that illness had no power over me, because God did not create it. With an innocent trust, I knew I would be healed. I finished my household chores. A few hours later I realized a sore throat I'd had was gone. And I have had no recurrence of that condition.
What happened? What brought about the healing? Blind faith? Changing a sore throat into a healthy throat? Neither. In the Bible, the words of Christ Jesus guide us to understand how healing happens. He said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). I was knowing the truth that fear and disease have no foundation in fact, no law to uphold them. God is the only power and law, and He did not create us to suffer. He created us in His image. God is Truth, which frees us; God's law of good is omnipotent. Understanding this results in healing of all kinds.
It became evident to me that belief in a power separate from God is the cause of fear and disease. Removing fear involves replacing thoughts of fear with true facts -- ones supported by God's laws. Because of God's power and perfection, nothing evil can control or trap us. Knowing this, we have nothing to fear. Our true nature is not material and limited, but is spiritual and eternal.
But the biggest impact Science and Health has had on me is this: it has led me to understand God's nature and my relation to Him. The power behind this understanding is not just for one individual's spiritual growth and healing, but for the healing of the ills of humanity. God's nature is not a mystery, nor is it for only a select few to understand. God speaks to all of His children, and He can be understood by each of us.
*You can find in-depth articles about Christian Science in a monthly magazine, The Christian Science Journal.