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One of a series of articles by the Research Staff of The Mary Baker Eddy library, giving the historical background of the By-Laws of the Manual of The Mother Church.

What Are 'Formulas' and Why Are They Forbidden?

From the September 2009 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Among The New By-Laws that appeared in the sixth edition of the Manual of The Mother Church, published in 1897, was this: "No member of this Church shall use written formulas, or permit his patients or his students to use them as auxiliaries to teaching Christian Science, or for healing the sick. Whatever is requisite for either is contained in the books of the Discover and Founder of Christian Science; and no other authority is needed, and no other will be sought or used, by the loyal Christian Scientist.

"If a member of this Church does not obey this Rule, or is a member of, or holds an office in, a church that does not comply strictly with this Rule, he shall be excommunicated from this Church."

As the By-Law is worded in the current edition of the Manual (Article VIII, Section 9, "Formulas Forbidden," p. 43), the threat of excommunication no longer hangs over the heads of would-be users of formulas. But the By-Law certainly leaves no doubt that Mary Baker Eddy was not keen on their use by Christian Scientists!

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