My first experience with Christian Science was when a friend gave me the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. It took me a while, but I read the book cover to cover. I felt in my heart that everything it said was true. But I also thought I would never join a church because I could never live like “those people.”
I was newly graduated from college, and I drank, smoked, and took recreational drugs, as did my friends. So I thought I would just study Science on my own. But then the person who gave me the book told me about the weekly Bible Lesson in the Christian Science Quarterly, and I began reading it regularly, noticing that my day was different—more inspired—when I read it.
I talked to no one about it. About nine months after I’d been given that copy of Science and Health, I went to a Christian Science lecture, which included a healing of a young woman who sounded a lot like me. I was moved by the lecture—and the thought came that maybe I could change. I went home, sat on the edge of my bed, and earnestly prayed, “Dear God, how can I possibly change?” And right away there was an answer to my prayer: “You don’t have to do this anymore.”
It was the first time I had ever tried to reach out to God, and I got an answer. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of God’s love and goodness, and had no doubt that I was already changed. I love the way the message came to me—it was so simple and direct, with no condemning, blaming, or struggling. It really felt as if the addictive behaviors were something that were never really part of me.
And that was it. I stopped drinking, smoking, and doing drugs. Eventually I joined a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, and two years later I took class instruction in Christian Science, a two-week course.
Science and Health says: “The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship” (p. 316). My experience sitting on my bed that day and receiving that angel message was a small but powerful example of what she is saying.
One night, when I was leaving church after a Wednesday testimony meeting, I overheard some people walking by and referring to the church, saying it’s a “very demanding religion.” The thought came to me that what mortal mind sees as demands are actually rewards. In the Bible it says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”
Living the “demands” of a Christian life is not limiting, but actually freeing. This healing took place more than 25 years ago, and I am totally free from drinking, smoking, and drugs—and most important, the desire for any of them.
Gerry Sheridan Diamond
Brooklyn Heights, New York, US
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