Christian Scientists, those who adhere to the teachings of Christian Science, call the New England woman who discovered and founded our religion, Mary Baker Eddy or Mrs. Eddy. It is traditional and respectful for us to do this, but sometimes I’d like to call her by her first name Mary.
When you have someone you love very much who has given you something precious, in this instance, Christian Science, and set a good example for you by their life, you call them by their first name. That’s how I feel about her.
Her household staff and students loved her so much they called her Mother. When asked by students of others teaching Christian Science if they could call her mother, she wrote, “To the students whom I have not seen that ask, “May I call you mother?” my heart replies, Yes, if you are doing God’s work. When born of Truth and Love, we are all of one kindred (Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, page 317)”.
She later stated in the Manual of The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts, “In the year nineteen hundred and three and after, owing to the public misunderstanding of this name, it is the duty of Christian Scientists to drop the word mother and to substitute Leader, already used in our periodicals (The Church Manual, pages 64 and 65).”
So she was called Leader, but Christian Scientists do not call her Leader today, because it too has become a misunderstood word by the public. Leaders can be considered those who run cults and that is not what Mary was, nor is Christian Science a cult.
I’d like to call her Mary now that I am an adult, but I called her Mary Baker when I was a child growing up in a Christian Science Sunday School. I read A Child’s Life of Mary Baker Eddy by Ella H. Hay about Mary Baker born the youngest of six siblings on a New Hampshire farm. They were Congregationalists and read the Bible together every day. No wonder that the Bible is foundational to Christian Science.
I’d like to call her Mary, because I found her, or got to know her by reading her primary book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. To quote her, “Those who look for me in person, or elsewhere than in my writings, lose me instead of find me (The First Church of Christ Scientist and Miscellany by Mary Baker Eddy, page 120).” With Mary it was never about her personality, but it was about her expression of God.
I’d like to call her Mary, because of respect, love, and her special place in discovering and founding Christian Science and writing Science and Health, and maybe, after reading this, you will understand why sometimes I just might.