Q: What should I do when someone asks for treatment for some other adult in his/her family (an adult son, a senior parent, etc.)?
A: The heart of a Christian Science practitioner yearns to help others through prayer. However, Mary Baker Eddy found from experience that adherence to ethical standards based on the Golden Rule is essential to success in healing. Normally, a practitioner would give Christian Science treatment only when someone has asked for such treatment. Praying for someone who has not requested spiritual treatment is unethical in Christian Science, which Mrs. Eddy clearly stated in her Christian Science textbook: “The heavenly law is broken by trespassing upon man’s individual right of self-government. We have no authority in Christian Science and no moral right to attempt to influence the thoughts of others, except it be to benefit them. . . . Therefore the rule is, heal the sick when called upon for aid, and save the victims of the mental assassins” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 447).
However, there are instances (for example, in an emergency) when a practicing Christian Scientist may not be able to communicate their wishes for treatment, and a relative or friend asks a Christian Scientist practitioner to pray for that individual. In such a case it would be appropriate for a Christian Science practitioner to treat the individual until such time as they are able to make the decision to continue with Christian Science treatment, or choose a different method of treatment.