of the religion
of Christian Science
She was born in 1821, in Bow, NH. She was very frail while growing up, and did not go to regular school, and was instead taught at home by her brother Albert. Eventually, she attended Holmes Academy at Plymouth, and then Sanbornton Academy. She also had both prose and poetry published at a young age.
She soon married George W. Glover, who died six months into the marriage, while she was pregnant, leaving her to take care of their son, who was also named George W. Glover. She bounced amongst relatives for the next nine years, trying to teach, and often ill. She also spent time exploring various systems of healing, including homeopathy and mesmerism, though always throughtout, depending on the Bible for support and hope.
In 1853, married Daniel Patterson, a dentist. They eventually moved to Massachussets. While there, she heard about one Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, who was doing "mental healing". She travelled to Portland, Maine in 1862, where she underwent his treatment and became his pupil. However, she had doubts about two parts of Quimby's teachings - his hostility to religion, and his concept of mind as spiritual matter.
On February 1, 1866, she fell on an icy sidewalk, and apparently suffered serious internal injury. She was unconscious through the night, and the physician treating her had little hope for her survival. She awoke, but her condition worsened. On the 4th, she asked for her Bible, and supposedly found herself healed while reading an account of one of Jesus's healing. Soon after, she seperated from her husband, and truly started to found the church of Christian Science. She continued to work on the doctrine and plans, and in the process, formally divorced Patterson in 1873.
In 1875, she published Science and Health, which later became Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Two years later, she married Asa Gilbery Eddy, who was already active in her new church. In 1879, she formally founded the Church of Christ, Scientist to ".. reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing." Asa died in 1882, leaving her to go on with the church alone. In 1883, she founded the Journal of Christian Science, and was editor-in-chief.
She proceeded to live in Boston from 1875 until 1882, when she moved to Concord, New Hampshire, and then back near Boston in 1908 to Chestnut Hill, around the time she founded the Christian Science Monitor. On December 3, 1910, she died at the age of 89.
There is some evidence that Mrs. Eddy did not always act in manners fitting the religion she started, though the evidence is hotly denied by some. According to a diary kept by a household servant (Calvin Frye), she was addicted to morphine. Also, she may have worn glasses and frequently been visited by doctors.
She also showed signs of extreme paranoia, claiming that others were attacking her with "malicious animal magnetism". In the second and third editions of Science and Health, she even demanded that the courts recognize crimes commited by MAM. She even sued a former associate for supposedly using MAM to inflict suffering on one of her followers.
She plagarized from many sources, including Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin, as shown in Martin Gardner's book The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy.
She has also made a number of bizarre and incredible claims in her books and in various places, though never with any evidence or sources to back up the claims. For example, she writes in Science and Health,
It is related that a father plunged his infant babe, only a few hours old, intothe water for several minutes, and repeated this operation daily, until the child could remain under water twenty minutes, moving and playing without harm, like a fish.
and also, about an English woman,
disappointed in love in her early years, she became insane and lost all account of time. Believing that she was still living in the same hour which parted her from her lover, taking no note of years, she stood daily before the windo watching for her lover's coming. In this mental state she remained young. Having no consciousness of time, she literally grew no older. Some American travellers saw her when she was seventy-four, and supposed her to be a young woman. She had no care-lined face, no wrinkles nor gray hair, but youth sat gently on cheek and brow. Asked to guess her age, those unacquainted with her history conjectured that she must be under twenty.
Longyear Museum | Mary Baker Eddy, http://www.longyear.org/mbe.html
A Skeptical Examination of Christian Science, http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/~shallit/Talks/cs.html