I was raised in Christian Science, and had many healings as a kid. There was little doubt in my mind that I would join The Mother Church at some point. Yet, I ultimately didn’t join until I was in my twenties. Sometime after I had turned 12, when a well-intentioned Sunday School superintendent talked to my brother and me about why we needed to join, I found myself resisting the idea. That was something older people did, and I wasn’t ready yet. Later, when I went to college, I had new questions about membership. I’d heard stories about church policies that I didn’t agree with. Could I in good conscience join such an organization? But beyond the reasons why I maybe shouldn’t join, I had another problem: I didn’t know why I should join. Why would I join an institution in a state I didn’t even live in, and at that point in my life, had very little contact with? If I was going to commit, I needed to know why.
The answers to those questions came in a surprising way. I was working one summer at a camp for Christian Scientists. I became ill, and stayed a few days in the Christian Science practitioner’s cabin. The condition was not severe, but it did require my prayerful patience and persistence. Those few days were holy. For the first time I can remember, my prayers were not confined to addressing the symptoms presenting themselves. As a result, I was healed of that illness but also grew spiritually in unexpected ways. A few days later, when I was walking across camp, rejoicing in the experience, a thought popped into my head: “This is why you join church. Healing.” That day, I printed out an application for Mother Church membership. Within days, my application was in the mail.
I realized that joining The Mother Church was about taking a stand for Christian Science healing, and committing to unite with other healers worldwide. Membership wasn’t about showing up in Boston physically; it was about promising to show up prayerfully. As for those questionable church policies? In most cases, I learned they didn’t exist. But more important, I realized that The Mother Church needed the prayers of its members as much as the rest of the world did, and those humble prayers would certainly result in forward progress as needed. I couldn’t afford not to show up!