Rules and By-laws

At some point in the experience of the beginner in Christian Science there comes to him the desire to join The Mother Church, and also his local branch church. This action impels an investigation of motives, and if the desire is not a self-seeking one, but rather that he may help in the orderly growth of our beloved cause, he will find many ways in which he may be made useful.

If he would properly fulfil the duties of membership, it is necessary for the beginner to study the Church Manual, also the government and rules of his branch church as found in its constitution and by-laws. In studying its government, he finds that, as Mrs. Eddy says, "the Magna Charta of Christian Science means much, multum in parvo,—all-in-one and one-in-all. It stands for the inalienable, universal rights of men. Essentially democratic, its government is administered by the common consent of the governed, wherein and whereby man governed by his creator is self-governed. The church is the mouthpiece of Christian Science,—its law and gospel are according to Christ Jesus; its rules are health, holiness, and immortality,—equal rights and privileges, equality of the sexes, rotation in office" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 246).

Like the rules and by-laws of The Mother Church, it will be found that the rules for the systematic and orderly conduct of the affairs of a branch church are "not arbitrary opinions nor dictatorial demands, such as one person might impose on another" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 148), but that their object is the transaction of the business of the branch church in the best possible manner. To attain this object, rules are sometimes necessary to restrain the individual member, so that they, rather than his wishes, may be followed, no matter how well-meaning he may be. In considering these rules, it is well to bear in mind what our Leader says regarding the method of applying the Principle of Christian Science: "Whoever would demonstrate the healing of Christian Science must abide strictly by its rules, heed every statement, and advance from the rudiments laid down" (Science and Health, p. 462). Can we find a better rule to follow in trying to become a useful member?

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Heaven Our Home
October 30, 1915

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