Reading We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, vol. II has underscored the importance of handling animal magnetism. Although that is not a new goal, the book made clear that I am not to think vague thoughts to the effect of “there is no animal magnetism,” but to refute each and every lie that might come to my thinking, as well as to defend myself before going to sleep each night. Reading this book uncovered a few lurking, incorrect thoughts. One of them was the suggestion that the Christian Science Monitor would be more popular if only it didn’t have “Christian Science” in the title. It was helpful to see this addressed in William Rathvon’s reminiscences and to have my own malpractice uncovered and rebuked. Another error that needed correcting was the thought, ever since first reading the Manual, that it was a bit extreme and unkind for Mrs. Eddy to force people to work in her household for so long. It was helpful to me that this was also addressed in the book—in many different ways—and to see the blessing that this experience was for the workers and, more important, that they were devoted enough to the Cause of Christian Science to be willing to serve. Mrs. Eddy’s words to Mr. and Mrs. Rathvon to “know that what you are doing and giving is not a sacrifice, but an offering” lift a sense of burden and replace it with joy. (p. 526)
Another statement of Mrs. Eddy’s, “We must know that the world is ready for Christian Science” (p. 286) is also very helpful. Sometimes animal magnetism has tried to suggest that the world isn’t ready or that the world once was ready but now has moved beyond being interested, but these are both lies. This book illustrates the importance of what “watching” really means—I’ve noticed so many little lies that have been subtly lurking in thought and am happy to evict them and work to keep them out. One additional one is the idea that the weather is a force of its own, unrelated to God and unaffected by prayer. Well, that is certainly not true, and I’m no longer going to either feel helpless or think vague hopeful thoughts when an inharmonious weather situation has been forecasted—it’s no different than a medical diagnosis, which is to say, it is a matter-based verdict that can be overturned by affirming Spirit’s allness and goodness.
As for Mrs. Eddy’s leadership, this book helped me get a clearer understanding of the fact that Christian Science is a divine revelation and that Mrs. Eddy’s role was really as a transparency for Truth. Her leadership continues as we study her divinely inspired writings, including the Manual, and follow Christ’s example, which was hers.