Today’s Inspiring Articles

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How I found the church—and it found me

From the April 2024 issue of The Christian Science Journal

My initial encounter with Christian Science was in prison, where I went to a Christian Science church service just to get out of my cell. At the time I was serving a life sentence for a crime I had not committed, although I had engaged in other criminal activity from an early age.

After attending a few more Christian Science services, I stopped going to them. I scoffed at Mary Baker Eddy’s explanation of spiritual healing in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, associating it with the claims by televangelists of instantaneous healings of physical ailments, which I viewed as quackery.

However, what I had heard at those initial services stayed with me, and in retrospect, I see that the events in my life were preparing me to eventually embrace the teachings of Christian Science. As a young man I had been greatly influenced by my grandmother, who was frequently called on to treat the afflicted in the Black community in the South where I grew up. At that time, where we were, Black people were not allowed in the white hospitals and often found themselves with no medical help. Many relied on herbs and natural remedies for healing, and the aid of neighbors and friends.

Within a week of my release, I discovered that there was a Christian Science church within walking distance of my home.

In prison, I realized I was following in my grandmother’s footsteps and found myself caring for inmates who suffered from sports injuries, stab wounds from violent altercations, and mental health challenges, as medical attention and social services for prisoners were scant at the time. It wasn’t long before I attracted the attention of prison guards, who also came to me in their distress.

After more than four decades of incarceration, my sentence was reduced and I was released on parole. Within a week of my release, I discovered that there was a Christian Science church within walking distance of my home. I remembered the name Mary Baker Eddy and my introduction to Christian Science years ago, and decided to go into the church one Sunday. After that, I went to a Wednesday testimony meeting. At the testimony meetings, members shared personal accounts of healing through Christian Science treatment, or the application of the laws of God. Their accounts touched me and seemed believable. I had not been to a Wednesday testimony meeting before.

I continued going back to the church. The outpouring of love I received from the members was overwhelming.

For the first time in my life I was able to see a God that was active in my day-to-day affairs, as opposed to one that was beyond my reach, only to be known and understood in the hereafter. A God that had provided for my every need all my life, even though I was blind to His presence. I came to see that this loving, divine presence had been with me at every critical juncture of my life, providing guidance, comfort, and protection. A Bible statement I constantly clung to from Isaiah was, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn” (54:17).

Throughout my life I had been told by many people, from the most callous of criminals to the sincerest members of law enforcement I had encountered, that I had something spiritual about me, which I later learned is termed spiritual sense in Christian Science. Everyone has this spiritual sense, and I have come to see that it reveals my God-given identity as a child of God, untouched by material elements such as environment, racial stereotypes, human history, and heredity.

The outpouring of love I received from the members was overwhelming.  

As I began applying the ideas I was learning in my study of the weekly Bible Lessons from the Christian Science Quarterly,
I found complete freedom from terrible back pain that I had suffered from a sports injury as a young man, which had left me partially paralyzed on my left side. For years I’d had to sleep in a wheelchair, leaning on a table every night. But as my understanding of God grew, I found complete freedom from this disability. Words alone cannot express my gratitude for the spiritual understanding I have gained from Christian Science and its transformative effect on my life.

Since that day when I first walked through the doors of my neighborhood Christian Science church, I have been embraced and supported by the members. I love my church family. They are the only real family I have. I am now an active member of the church, living a life free from crime and striving each day to bear witness to all the good that God has given me.

More inspiring articles:

  1. Dunsire, Julie, “We saw him as the guest of God”, 4/24/2024, Christian Science Journal, “My spiritual preparation was to recognize that no one could be outside of “the structure of Truth and Love.”
  2. Larsen, Whit, “Lessons from volunteering at a prison”, 5/27/2024, Christian Science Sentinel.  “It was humbling and gratifying to see the men we visited starting to glimpse their true nature as lovable and loved.”
  3. Larrance, Stephen, “A Prisoner Finds Something He Can Count On”, 2/19/2001, Christian Science Sentinel. An inmate describes how learning about God in prison brought him peace in the face of adverse circumstances.
  4. Talcott, Brian, “A Spiritual Vision for Prison Reform”, 10/17/2011, Christian Science Sentinel. A Teacher of Christian Science shares inspiration he has gained from his Christian Science study that contributes to healing of both individual inmates and our prison system.
  5. Amos, James, “I feel Compelled to Write this Testimony in Order to Show that…”, 9/20/1982, Christian Science Sentinel. A returned citizen describes how he found Christian Science in prison and was healed of deep drug addiction that had persisted for over 20 years and a heart condition and how he became a productive member of society and a church member after his release.
  6. Rose, Cebastien, “Light in the Prison”, 11/7/2016, Christian Science Sentinel. A Christian Science Chaplain shares how prayer provided him with an opportunity to see harmony and goodwill prevail when faced with an inmate who loudly and angrily disputed some passages from the Bible Lesson and how he has also witnessed a turnaround in general in acceptance of Christian Science at that institution.
  7. Warmack, Wanda, “Courage in the Prison Compound”, 4/7/2003, Christian Science Sentinel. A young woman in her 20’s just out of graduate school starts a job as a correctional officer in an all-male prison with a lack of confidence and some fear. She soon becomes the subject of a threats on her life by an inmate.  She responds with prayer and a deeper sense of love. A complete turnaround occurs in the attitude of the inmate who threatened her.
  8. Name Withheld, “In 1992 a Friend and Teacher at the Prison Where I am Serving…”, 9/5/1994, Christian Science Sentinel. An inmate who had lived a life of violence and anger and hate for many years finds an entirely different way of life and a spiritual perspective through his study of Christian Science.
  9. Interview with Alicia Sanchez Alivarez, “Direct Access to God – Even in Prison”, 4/26/2004, Christian Science Sentinel. A woman wrongfully incarcerated finds true freedom through the study of Christian Science while in prison. In turn this new view leads to physical healing and the overturning of her conviction.
  10. Taylor, Corey, “An Overwhelming Sense of Peace”, 9/17/2012, Christian Science Sentinel. An inmate with a Baptist/Pentecostal background finds Christian Science while serving a 75-year sentence and it transforms his life in the prison and leads to him becoming a member of The Mother Church.
  11. Sindayihebura, Gervais, “Christian Science Opens Prison Doors” 1/2/2012, Christian Science Sentinel. An inmate in a prison in Burundi discovers Christian Science through a French Herald and then obtains the help of a Christian Science practitioner. He becomes a devoted student of Christian Science and has a great change in thinking to a more spiritual perspective. He is soon and unexpectedly released and finishes his education and acquires a good job and harmonious life.
  12. Scott, Bill, “From Bootlegger to Healer”, 12/5/2011, Christian Science Sentinel. This article is about a person, Ray Olmstead, who became infamous in the Seattle area during Prohibition as “King of the Bootleggers”. A PBS program was made about his life as a bootlegger. In prison he found Christian Science and it transformed his life. After release from prison he went on to become well-known as a Christian Science practitioner who helped others in that capacity for 18 years.
  13. The Christian Science Monitor Editorial Board, “Getting Up Close with the Criminal Justice System”3/26/2018, Christian Science Sentinel. This brief article highlighted some of the positive developments in the political sphere that were occurring in recent years.
  14. Gustin, Amanda, “We Never Failed to Find Listeners”, in the Church Alive section of the Christian Science Journal, Feb. 2011. A short review of some experiences and references to institutional work in early Christian Science history.
  15. Cole, Judy, “A Key to Break Out of Prison” Christian Science Sentinel, 7/7/2008. This was an interview with Judy Cole who was a Christian Science practitioner and was also a former correctional officer. She shares metaphysical truths that are helpful in institutional work.
  16. Hughes, Virginia, “Out of My Comfort Zone – and into the Light” Christian Science Sentinel, 2/28/2011. This article is by a woman who was painfully shy and fairly new to Christian Science when she became a Christian Science institutional chaplain. She describes her experience and the wonderful results she had.
  17. Nelson, Jack, “Second Thought”, Christian Science Sentinel, 5/31/1993. This article is about a former Ku Klux Klan who found a totally new perspective in studying the Bible after being imprisoned. This article is not about a Christian Scientist. This man did not discover Christian Science while in prison but was totally changed just through his Bible study.
  18. Priso, Alice,  “A Holy Place Here and Now” Christian Science Journal, December 2015. This article was written by a Christian Science practitioner who served as a Christian Science chaplain in a prison in Cameroon in Africa. She describes the very difficult conditions in the prison and the great reception given to Christian Science in the institution and also the big improvement in prison conditions during the time she was serving there.
  19. Lobl, Tony, Our freedom to not “cling to personality.” June 28, 2021  Christian Science Sentinel. A visiting chaplain needed to be willing to  “look beyond the personality of one of the inmates,” and “to see all that is  ungodly as completely separate from the one exhibiting ungodliness.”
  20. Gwalter, L. Ivimy, “ Identity” June 1942 Christian Science Journal. Sin in all its forms is belief that man is incomplete, unsatisfied, and that because of his incompleteness  he steals, lies, lusts, hates, and murders.”
  21. Booth, Tim, “He just walked right up to the bars and loved those guys…” August 2011 Christian Science Journal “….I tried to explain why I love the Christian Science chaplaincy so much…but only two words came to my lips: It helps.”
  22. Hoerner, Sandra, “As Thyself” August 1968 Christian Science Journal “Beloved, you are God’s own, completely free from sin.” …   “And as Love purified my sense of self…  self condemnation was dethroned.”
  23. Simon, Milton “Accepting the True Report” September 1947, Christian Science Journal “Thought illumined by God is never darkened or confused by false reports about man’s present perfect selfhood.”

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