From the Directors

The inquiries received by The Christian Science Board of Directors and by our Bureau of History and Records disclose that there are in circulation a surprising number of apocryphal sayings and writings mistakenly attributed to Mary Baker Eddy. Oftener than otherwise—much oftener—the subjects of inquiry are entirely spurious. Other inquiries present different combinations of genuine and spurious elements. Inquiries concerning sayings or writings which are entirely authentic and for which there is adequate proof are comparatively rare.

Another surprising fact is the frequence of inquiries which present collections of declarations and denials apparently intended for use as formulas, without due regard for Article VIII, Section 9, of the Manual of The Mother Church. Once, when such a compilation was submitted to our Leader, she not only disclaimed responsibility for it, but added this emphatic comment: "The enemy of Christian Science or a self-deceived student must have compiled it."

There is also a legal rule to be considered, because it applies to copies of authentic writings. This rule is that an author has the right to publish or to prevent the publication of his ideas as expressed in words and sentences. In a case which involved the publishing of excerpts from authentic letters from Mrs. Eddy, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has spoken thus: "It is generally recognized that one has the right to the fruits of his labor. This is equally true, whether the work be muscular or mental or both combined. ... The right of the author to publish or suppress publication of his correspondence is absolute in the absence of special considerations, and is independent of any desire or intent at the time of writing. It is an interest in the intangible and impalpable thought and the particular verbal garments in which it has been clothed." In the course of this decision, the Court also held that the proprietary right of the author passes to his legal representatives, and the Court used the word "publication," "in the sense of making public through printing or multiplication of copies" (Baker v. Libbie, 210 Massachusetts Reports 599, 604–607).

The Lectures
December 11, 1937

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