Since a representative of another faith attacked Christian Science...

St. Joseph (Mo.) Gazette

Since a representative of another faith attacked Christian Science in your columns, because of what it teaches on fear as related to an epidemic of disease, your readers are likely to be interested in what other persons, at least equally well informed, have said on the same subject.

In the Battle Creek Journal (Michigan) the editor said: "Above all, do not worry. There is an element in every community that does not fear disease germs and denies their existence. Whatever may be said of this belief, the fact remains that its followers have a greater average resisting power than those who fear deadly germs in every breeze that blows. Their mental state serves as a breaker against such epidemics as that which is abroad." In the Fort Smith American (Arkansas) Rev. Mr. Lampkin said, "The fear of disease ought not to make us distrust God, close down on Christian activities, and shut our church doors." In the Los Angeles Camera (California) the editor said: "The present closing orders are the best things in the world for the spread of the disease, and the newspaper articles that have been broadcasted would make ordinary German propaganda seek a dark corner in shame. America, the greatest nation in the world, is giving way before a mental panic." In the Memphis News-Scimitar (Tennessee) the editor said: "Fear produces what may be called mob-hypnosis. Deaths from this cause were not unknown in Memphis during the visitation of yellow fever. What a man thinks, that is what he is, largely. The mind exercises a powerful influence upon the body. Scientists, who are not Christian Scientists, are aware of this." In the Great Falls Tribune (Montana) Doctor McCarten, the city health officer, said: "The less general talk there is about the disease the fewer cases of it will actually be reported. So-called epidemics like this are to a considerable extent a mental thing."

Several newspapers have reported a meeting of the Des Moines influenza committee at which one of the members spoke of the fact that soldiers and officers at Camp Dodge who are Christian Scientists have not been affected by the epidemic. Commenting on this fact, Dr. W. C. Witte, city sanitarian, and chairman of the committee, said: "There is no question that by the right attitude of mind these people have kept themselves from illness. Fear is the first thing to be overcome, the first step in conquering this epidemic. I am not a Christian Scientist, but I believe that an application of their principles will materially aid in preserving the health of this community." Although these speakers are not Christian Scientists, and may not have expressed Christian Science exactly, nevertheless their statements confirm these two points of Christian Science: The worst thing for individual and public health at such a time as this is fear; the best thing for individual and public health is, to quote words used by Mrs. Eddy in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 229), "a calm, Christian state of mind," which, she says, "is a better preventive of contagion than a drug."

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Extracts from Letters
March 8, 1919

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