With each recurring quarter the Aldershot Masonic Hall...

Aldershot (Eng.) Military Gazette

With each recurring quarter the Aldershot Masonic Hall witnesses a remarkable increase in the number of Christian Scientists who on those occasions assemble to give, or listen to, testimony of the wonderful healing powers of this pseudo scientific faith. To the skeptic—and a few journalists, at all events, escape this epithet—the mere weight of numbers carries no conviction, for among a certain unlettered class emotionalism spreads with the swiftness of contagion. Given a dominant personality—a commanding figure, and persuasive voice—and the right atmosphere, and converts flock eagerly to the new faith, cult, or creed. And no act of abasement is too great for these newest disciples, as the penitential benches of evangelical mission tents can testify. But unfortunately in the majority of instances reaction empties the new-found church, and the convert of today becomes the apostate of tomorrow. But both conclusion and premises are lacking when Christian Science, or at any rate the Aldershot church, is considered. Its members are not of the unlettered class, its neophytes do not flock with emotional fervor to its meetings, and its disciples once encrolled remain true to their adopted faith. And not only so, but the meeting held on Wednesday afternoon in the Temple of the Masonic Club, showed clearly enough that Aldershot's devotees were a steadily increasing force....

The evidence for the value of Christian Science as a health restorer was even more varied than usual, while with perhaps one exception no single witness had given testimony in Aldershot before. If the witness failed to carry conviction to the unbeliever, they certainly impressed him with the sincerity of their own conviction. Delivered dispassionately, without a single trace of emotion, in almost every case by educated and cultured witnesses, the testimony bore the impress of truth. It ranged over the whole gamut of human ills, from toothache to tubercular meningitis, and in nearly every instance narrated the story of instantaneous and complete cure. Nor was the tale of healing confined to bodily ailments alone. Men and women spoke of spiritual uplifting—of profanity abjured, evil habits eradicated, mind and morals stimulated, and all with the same note of gratitude to the creed and its Founder. If the value of the testimony, however, was lessened in any degree, it was due to the fact that in no case was the name of the beneficiaries mentioned. Fashionably dressed women and well-groomed men bore unflinching witness to their own faith, and this candor was not lost upon their hearers. But the skeptical world outside, with its craving for corroboration unsatisfied, cannot be impressed by the personality of the reciters and will probably cling to its unbelief until such time as the testifiers, with the courage of their convictions, proclaim their identity and so shatter the last fortress of the incredulous; but the testimony as a whole was marvelous enough.

October 26, 1907

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