The Fourth Period of Christian Science

 

 

The completion and dedication of the Extension Edifice was the result of 15 years of church-building, in the Third period of the development of Christian Science. A tremendous achievement culminated the church-building period that started when the spiritual foundation had been established in 1891 for the church-building process to begin, based on a deed of trust instead of a 'corporation.'  30,000 people had come to Boston for the dedication celebration of the great Extension edifice in 1906 at the end of this period. In the light of what had been accomplished, an obvious question emerged, where do we go from here? With this, the fourth development period of Christian Science began.

It appears that Mary Baker Eddy had the answer already worked out. The next expression of the expanding spiritual idea of Church would have to unfold in the form of a newspaper designed to heal and uplift the world. With the generous support of the field, the task of launching the newspaper was completed in slightly over two years, though it nearly failed.
 

Next Friends Suit

A major attack against the church was launched eight months after the Extension temple was dedicated, and only a month after the next step, the newspaper, was announced.

The attack was orchestrated on a wide front. As a part of the attack a legal suit was filed in March 1907, the historically famous "Next Friends Suit." It was officially launched as an attempt to seize Mary Baker Eddy's property, by declaring her incompetent to manage her affairs, and in the background to destroy her scientific leadership and authority in the church. Unofficially the frontal assault was carried out through the press where truth can be swept aside. It was coordinated with the suit.

In order to give historians a sense of the force of the attack and its purpose, she included a note into the preface of her textbook thereafter, that she had never read her textbook throughout consecutively in order to "elucidate her idealism", until June 10, 1907. The date is significant as it is the anniversary day of the dedication of the Extension, within the context of the frontal attack on her and the church.

Since the suit was without merit, it collapsed in August that year. It collapsed after a court-appointed master for the case had come to her home for an interview. Legally, the attackers had no case. Evidently the court master agreed. The case was not tried in court. But the forces behind the case didn't allow the case to be withdrawn or be dismissed, as if to signal that the war had not ended, that a new phase of it had begun. Only the prosecution had collapsed. However the path for the publication of the Monitor was now cleared of legal obstructions.

It appears that before the physical work could begin, an advanced spiritual foundation needed to be laid. This was done in the form of uplifting the recognized image of God to a still higher level. She did this by modifying her definition for God in the chapter, Recapitulation.  It is reported that Mary Baker Eddy removed the term "incorporeal Being" from the list of synonyms for God, and replaced it with "infinite Mind" The capitalized "Being" had appeared in Recapitulation for a long time, almost from the beginning. It appears that the change from "incorporeal Being" to "infinite Mind" in 1907, set the stage for the newspaper to be launched. It appears that the Christian Science Monitor was founded on the spiritual foundation of infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love.

With the spiritual basis for the newspaper established, Mary Baker Eddy's call for building an appropriate publishing house was issued the very next month.

She herself, relocated her entire household to Boston for this purpose of starting the newspaper, at the beginning of the next year, the year of the Monitor, the year 1908. This was also the year in which the new cross and crown seal was changed, with a radically redesigned seal being issued.

That the attack on Mary Baker Eddy and the church had not ended when the "Next Friends Suit" collapsed. became evident a few years after Mary Baker Eddy's passing. This occurred in 1916, when her new seal became privatized as a registered corporate trademark, the intellectual 'private' property of the Christian Science Board of Directors.

It should be noted that the concept of God as "Being" was not entirely removed in 1907. The term appears in the modern edition. two paragraphs later in a slightly different context.

Question. - Is there more than one God or Principle?
Answer. - There is not. Principle and its idea is one, and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being, and His reflection is man and the universe. Omni is adopted from the Latin adjective signifying all. Hence God combines all-power or potency, all-science or true knowledge, all-presence. The varied manifestations of Christian Science indicate Mind, never matter, and have one Principle.

I speculate that the term "Being" relating to God with moved into the context shown below, in 1907. I only know for certain that it doesn't appear in the context show above, in the 214th Edition published in 1901 that I have a copy of.

The fourth development period of Christian Science, spanning slightly over 4 years, ended with Mary Baker Eddy's passing in 1910.