Some groups called “cults” abruptly end or wither away after the founder dies. But Christian Science soldiered on after the death of its leader Mary Baker Eddy, though some say the church is now in decline.

In an apparent effort to raise its fading profile, the still wealthy organization spent $50 million dollars to build “The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity,” which will open its doors this weekend. The museum includes an extensive archive of Eddy’s writings that one Harvard professor called a “gold mine,” reports the Boston Globe.

However, one book visitors won’t find while mining for material at the new edifice is “The Healing Revelation of Mary Baker Eddy” by Martin Gardener, 1993. Gardner exposed Eddy as a rather typical cult leader focused upon her own personal power. He also details her fascination with spiritualism, morphine addiction and hysterical fits of rage. Eddy apparently also liked to sue her critics and was something of a plagiarist.

Mark Twain once said of Eddy’s writings, “I am convinced, that the circumstantial evidence shows that her actual share in the work of composing and phrasing these things was so slight as to be inconsequential.”

Eddy’s teachings encouraged her followers to reject modern medicine. Subsequently, Christian Scientists have often refused medical care for themselves and their children. This has led to the criminal prosecution of some of the sect’s parents.

“The Religion that kills—Christian Science,” by Linda S. Kramer, Huntington Books 1999, explains this destructive aspect of Eddy’s religious creation. But again, Kramer’s book is unlikely to be found on the shelves of the Eddy library anytime soon.


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