Church Membership

In the earlier days of our movement it was no uncommon thing for those joining a branch church to make application at the same time for membership in The Mother Church. This commendable practice is approved by this Board and should be encouraged.

There is reason to believe that much good would follow if the duties and privileges of such membership and the readiness with which it may be attained were more generally understood. With some a simple reminder is all that is required, and to that end we would now commend the practice which some branches follow of announcing from the platform at the right season that application blanks for membership in The Mother Church may be had at the Reading Room or from the Clerk. The opportunity for a similar reminder is also before the practitioner when he is warranted in concluding that his patient is ready for this helpful and sustaining step.

It is often asked by the beginner as well as by the more experienced, "Why should I join a Boston church when I have never been there and do not expect to go?" This is a natural question, but it shows a mistaken sense of things. The Mother Church is not a Boston church. It belongs equally to every one of its members, whether living in New York or New Zealand. In its rightful sense it is not a material edifice but a spiritual influence that guides, protects, and strengthens everyone who may rightly call it his own. Mrs. Eddy has referred to it as "prophecy fulfilled" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 141), thus turning our thought away from the material structure, which merely symbolizes what the actual Mother Church stands for. When Jesus spoke of building his Church against which "the gates of hell shall not prevail" (Matt. 16:18) he did not mean a temple of wood and stone but "the structure of Truth and Love" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 583).

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One's Own Responsibility
November 1, 1930

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