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Wanted: Wise editors, cultured writers

From the May 2004 issue of The Christian Science Journal


In a 1903 letter to Mary Baker Eddy, periodicals Editor Archibald McLellan asked her for "a rule by which I may be guided when I doubt the value of some article that is presented, or some plan that is advocated . . . ." Mrs. Eddy responded, "Ask for wisdom of Him, the divine Love, and you will receive it . . . ." But she didn't stop there. She ended her letter by offering a wide range of ideas about how to make the magazines livelier, more literary, more accessible to the public.

Pleasant View, Concord, New Hampshire
August 29, 1903

. . . Our periodicals stand for a system to be established and a Science to be demonstrated. They are not to amuse or to entertain so much as to instruct the public. They should contain only what tends to this result. The dabblers in literature are not the ones to fill this demand. We need cultured writers to make the abstract interesting; and sound subjects to make our readers satisfied. Wisdom and the keen perception of what to write and how and when to write it, are requisite in the Editor, and a fearless stand as to maintaining the rights and rules of periodicals in self defense and the dignity due our paper and its purpose.1 Wit and wise repartee are some times auxiliaries to this end; and sarcasm blent with love may gain a strong point in human thought. Unlettered novices in Christian Science are not the writers that we need. I recommend that you get exchanges with the leading religious or secular magazines and newspapers if possible. This is advantageous in many respects. Accept my thanks for your labors.

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